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Zbe QcottiBb Zcjct Qociet^ 




ttbe Scottisb JEcjrt Societ? 






Hbe Scottteb a:ei;t Societi; 



" I see that the Ayrshire Bard had one giant before him." 

--Crabbt to Sir IVaUtr Scott : * Lockhart's Life of Scott. ' 





The late JOHN SMALL, LL.D. 


» • 

VOL. I. 

• • • 

INTRODUCTION \\\\: l,/r. - 

By iE. J. G. MACKAY.:: f . 


1 _ _ • • 

• • » 

• * 


• • • • • 


• m % • 

• • • « 


• • ■ • 

^rinteti fox tf|e Sodttg ig '*** 





AVL J^t^kts reserucd 

1141 J > 


The Introduction to the poems of William Dunbar, having 
exceeded the length of the ordinary parts of the Society's 
publications, is issued separately. 

Dr Gregorys Glossary and Notes are ready for the press, 
and will be included in the publications of the year. 


The widespread interest in Dunbar emboldened the 
writer to ask, and enabled him to obtain, the aid of many 
gentlemen in the dischai^e of a duty which fell into his 
hands by the lamented death of Mr John Small. He is 
grateful for this co-operation, without which he could not 
have made the attempt to introduce Dunbar in a manner 
worthy of his fame to students of Scottish History and 
lovers of Scottish Poetry. 

The Rev. Dr Gregor of Pitsligo has read the whole 
proof, made many valuable suggestions, and prepared 
Tables C and D in the Appendix on the bibliography 
of Dunbar. 

Mr G. P. M'Neill, Advocate, has contributed Appendix 
ni. " On the Versification and Metres of Dunbar," — ^subjects 


essential to a fair judgment of the poet's style, but which 
the writer was himself incompetent to treat. 

Mr Dickson, Curator of the Historical Department of 
the Register House, and Mr Maitland Anderson, Librarian 
of the University of St Andrews, have examined the 
Records under their charge for the references to Dunbar. 

Dr Cranstoun of Stroude, formerly of the Royal High 
School of Edinburgh ; Mr Clark, the Keeper of the Ad- 
vocates' Library; Mr Webster the Librarian, and Mr 
Alexander Anderson Assistant-Librarian, of the Univer- 
sity of Edinburgh, — ^have helped in solving some doubtful 
questions in connection with the life and poems* of Dunbar. 

Mr John Russell of Edinburgh, author of * The Haigs of 
Bemersyde,' and Mr F. J. Amours of Glasgow, have rendered 
a similar service as to particular points. 

Sir W. Fettes Douglas, President of the Royal Scottish 
Academy, and Mr John Gray, F.S.A., Curator of the 
Scottish Historical Portrait Gallery, have given informa- 
tion as to the portraits of James IV. and Margaret Tudor, 
of which the writer regrets he has not been able to make 
fuller and better use. It was at one time his intention to 
give examples of such portraits. Authentic and good rep- 
resentations of the features of historical characters recall 
the past actors in the historic drama better than words. 
But no portrait of Dunbar is known, and it might have 
seemed far-fetched to illustrate his works by portraits 
even of his royal patrons. Those who desire to see 
what was the outward appearance of the king who led 
his nation to Flodden, and the queen who brought the 

17 utfur :ilbivil itntv :ti& ^mul mcot:, im^- waasut tfls jifnt&F 
i«vwti> mH] ;!» ;ii mmv -v*ilA) 1^- Sfiwulk <^m &i» -wx^, iunnmd^ lis 

lUAl^ Mkviot: nmtf!)/ ^7t«ftiai3ibe» titt: ImsuII <ud Id^ cmt&^ aand 
il»t]M«r lity^fitnrtwlU; ft&tt: mor tvHs^D <oif fa» dtHnrawtinr in tbc 

Mbq;«^ Tdid^r bftti {jswoitftid bfindlf m ha Idtftcfs in a 
MitMMHy ^^AmkId I«SM^it» liilttSe (Aodbt that tlie portnut im I^ocd 
fy^tlwMr^^ OJLtK^yn ;vt K«:wtiattk, aad 'm tlie fBoystesioiis 
j(r<'^Mi»{j^ MUMiHy <&»lkMl M^ifj^ct and Allaiix in tlie Qdkc- 
ti^iW // |>>ir4 (JtfU: at CardiAT, art gemufse represcntatioiis of 
il»« ^^mfi^^iW^^ pLeatMire-kmi^ fll-oiatcd, and iU-fitfed 
w^mi^m, whm^ «y«» in yc^ith had some of tlie beanty, 
f>Mt irb/>Mr life had none c^ the romance, of that of Mary 

'fhe immpcct (A the publication of a Scottish historical 
fK/rtrait (^[allery by (/ergons most competent for such a 
work, U another and (K^rhaps itself sufficient reason for not 
flWitm [iortraits in such a sketch as the present 

1 1 ml it been the custom of the Scottish Text Society 
to dedicate their publications, the writer would have ven- 
tured to inscrilx; this Introduction to the memory of Allan 
Kamsay, who recovered the poems of Dunbar from the 
compftrative obscurity of manuscript, and of Mr David 


Laing, whose researches made the life and genius of the 
poet better known to his countrymen ; and he would have 
associated with these names that of Professor Schipper 
of Vienna, who has introduced the Scottish poet to the 
German public 

The growing appreciation on the Continent of early 
Scottish and English literature, is a gratifying proof of the 
international character of the Republic of Letters. 



I. Memoir of Dunbar — 

Object of introduction — The MSS. of Dunbar's Poems, 
^Birth and £umly of Dunbar, and of his rival Walter Ken 

nedy, 1460-70, ..... 
^ Education of Dunbar at Haddington before 1474, . 
Dunbar at St Andrews University, 1474-79 — He becomes a 

Franciscan novice, .... 
^Dunbar visits France and the Continent, I49i-I500(?), 
Dunbar a priest and Court poet, 1500-12, . 
Dunbar and the Embassy to London to negotiate the mar 

riage of James IV. and Margaret Tudor, 1501-2, 
Dunbar's illness — His notices of the Scottish poets in the 

Lament for the Makaris, 1507-8, 
Dunbar's connection with Chepman the Scottish printer, 

1500, .••.•• 
Dunbar celebrates Bernard Stewart, and satirises Damian, 

the Abbot of Tungland, 1507-8, 
Dunbar at Aberdeen with the Queen, 151 1, 
Dunbar at the Court of James IV., 1500-13, 
The King and Queen, .... 

The Town, the Court, the Trades, the Friars, and other 

Classes, ...... 

The Scottish landscape as seen by Dunbar, 
Effect of Flodden on Scotland and Dunbar, 15 13, . 
Dunbar's life after Flodden to his death, 1513-20^ . 
Dunbar's Sacred Poems or Hymns after 1513 (?), . 
^ Dunbar's person and character. 



















II. The Poems op Dunbar— 

Division of the Poems into Classes — 
I. Allegorical Poems, 
II. Narrative Poems or Tales, 

III. Amatory or Love Poems, 

IV. Comic or Humorous Poems, 
V. Laudatory Poems or Panegyrics, 

VI. Vituperative Poems or Invectives, 
VII. Precatory Poems or Petitions to the King or 

VIII. Satirical Poems, . 
IX. Moral Poems, 

X. Religious Poems or Hynms, . . 
. Estimate of Dunbar's genius — Its wide range — Its defects, 
^ Comparison of Dunbar with preceding Scottish poets, 
Influence of Chaucer on Dunbar, 
Influence of the French poets on Dunbar, . 
Comparison with Bums, .... 
Dunbar's mastery of metre, .... 
Comparison with Horace, Villon, Heine, and Albert Durer, 









I. References to Dunbar in the Records, 
II. Table of Dunbar's Poems according to probable order of 
their dates, ...... 

III. Note on the Versification and Metres of Dunbar, by G. P. 

M'Ndll, Esq., LL.B., Advocate, 

IV. Bibliography of Dunbar — 

A, Manuscripts, ..... 

B. Printed Editions, ..... 

C. Table of the MSS. in which is found each of the 

Poems of Dunbar, . . . . 

D, Table of the Principal Editions of each of the 

Poems of Dunbar, .... 

V. Historical Notices of Persons alluded to in Dunbar's Poems, 

Index to Introduction and Appendices, . 
Facsimiles, ..... 






William Dunbar is generally held in Scotland to be the 
best Scottish poet prior to the Reformation. Sir Walter 
Scott calls him " the excellent poet, unrivalled by any which 
Scotland ever produced." Yet either praise may appear 
due to patriotism, for the qualities of Dunbar require study 
before they are fully appreciated. An American writer 
gives a different verdict ^Dunbar's works were disin- 
terred some thirty years ago by Mr Laing, and whoso is 
national enough to like thistles, may browse there to his 
heart's content I am inclined for other pasture, having 
long ago satisfied myself by a good deal of dogged reading 
that every generation is sure enough of its own share of bores 
without borrowing from the past"^ Dunbar must stand 
or &11 on his merits, not on the opinions of any critic His 
poems, always valued by a select circle, require, more than 




the works of most poets, an introduction to the reader. 
This is not because they are obscure. With few exceptions, 
they are clear in thought and language, but the dialect in 
which they are written is in part antiquated, and their rela- 
tion to his own life, and the country and age in which he 
lived, must be present if we would grasp their complete 

It will be the aim of this Introduction to illustrate Dun- 
bar's poems by a sketch of his life, with an outline of the 
history of Scotland, so far as necessary to estimate the 
character of his genius in itself, and in comparison with 
his predecessors and successors in the long and honourable 
line of Scottish poetry. 

It was to have been the work of Mr Small to whom the 
Society owes this edition of his writings. No one since Mr 
David Laing was a more diligent student of the ancient 
Scottish poets, or was better versed in the Scottish ver- 
nacular. His death, when a long-cherished project for 
the publication according to the best texts of the works 
of the authors who used it was at last begun, was a sever 
loss to all students of our early literature. "Abeui 
studia in mores." Something of the shrewd humour, tl* 
warm patriotism of the old Scottish poets, passed ir 
their interpreter. It is with deep regret that the pre 
writer takes up a part of Mr Small's unfinished lab 
It was thought that the members of the Society r 
reasonably wish to have their copies of Dunbar 
pleted by an Introduction, Glossary, and Notes 
Dr Gregor having undertaken the onerous task 
Glossary and Notes, the Introduction, for wJ 
Small had made some memoranda, kindly pi 
the disposal of the Society by Mr Small's re 


tives, has been intrusted to the writer of the Introduction 
by the Council 

The learned researches of Mr Laing, and the admira- 
ble work of Professor Schipper of Vienna, who for the 
first time made Dunbar known on the Continent, and sug- 
gested an arrangement of the order of his poems which is a 
great aid to the understanding of his character, render the 
study of Dunbar much easier than it otherwise would have 
been. No acknowledgment can be too strong for the help 
received from these two writers. From other sources less 
assistance than might have been anticipated has been 
derived. Yet it wbuld be ungrateful not to refer to the 
notices of Dunbar by Warton in his History of English 
and by Irving in that of Scottish Poetry, to the brief but 
instructive notes of Lord Hailes, and the valuable though 
not always accurate notes of Mr Pinkerton. 

It was the singular fortune of Dunbar, after having been 
recognised by his contemporary Gavin Douglas, and David 
Lyndsay, his immediate successor, as the master of the 
Scottish makers, to be almost forgotten for nearly two 
centuries. His fame was restored by the publication of 
some of his poems in the ' Evergreen ' by Allan Ramsay in 


" Thrice fifty and six towmonds neat. 

From when it was collected. 
Let worthy poets hope good fate. 

Through time they'll be respected. 
Fashions of words and wit may change. 

And rob in part their fame, 
And make them to dull fops look strange, — 

But sense is still the same." 

"During this period," says Mr Laing, "with one solitary 
exception, no allusion, not even so much as the mention of 


his name, can be discovered." The exception is in the 
lines by Henry Charteris, in his Adhortation prefixed to 
the edition of Lyndsay's poems published in 1 568 : — 

" Thocht Kennedy and Dunbar bore the bell, 
For the large race of rhethorik they ran." 

This long n^lect of Dunbar was due to his poems, many 
of them brief and occasional, having been written when 
the printing-press brought into Scotland by Chepman 
and Myllar was beginning to supersede multiplication 
by manuscript Had they been written earlier, they 
might have been better preserved in manuscript, as the 
works of Wyntown, Blind Harry, and Barbour have been. 
Had they been written a little later, they would almost 
certainly have been printed. As it happened, only seven 
poems, the first seven in this edition of his works, were 
issued by Chepman and Myllar in 1 508, and had the bene- 
fit of his revision. Two years later Chepman printed his 
last book, the second volume of the ' Aberdeen Breviary,* ^ 
and with a single exception no book was issued by a Scot- 
tish press for twenty years, when Thomas Davidson began 
to print* Before this date Dunbar had died. The press, 
the herald of the Reformation, and its readers, were after 
wards engrossed with topics of another kind from tho 
which had been the subjects of the poets of an earlier r 
The preservation of Dunbar's poems was due to t 
manuscript collectors, — Geoige Bannatyne, whose M! 
in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates, Edinb^ 

1 The colophon bears, " Printed in the Town of Edinburgh by 
mand and at the expense of the honourable man Walter Chepman 
in the said Town, on the furth day of June in the year of our Lord 

« The single exception was "The Office of our Lady of Pity," 
John Story. See Dickson's ' Introduction of the Art of Printing int 
Aberdeen : Edmond & Spark. 1885. 


Sir Richard Maitland, whose MS. is in the Pepysian col- 
lection, Magdalene College, Cambridge ; and Mr Reidpeth, 
whose MS. is in the University Library of the same Uni- 
versity. All the poems in these collections were carefully 
collated by or for Mr Small A few additions, mostly 
recovered by Mr Laing from the Asloan MS. in the library 
of Auchinleck House, Ayrshire, the MSS. in the British 
Museum, and miscellaneous sources, are also included in 
this edition, as well as eleven poems attributed to Dunbar, 
but of uncertain authorship. Had it not been for the pious 
care of the collectors first named, and especially Banna- 
tyne, the poetry of Dunbar would have been almost lost to 
the world. As it is, ninety authentic poems have been pre- 
served, and a few may still lurk in unexpected quarters, like 
that which Mr Laing discovered in the Aberdeen Register 
of SasineSy and another (otherwise preserved) the present 
writer found copied on a fly-leaf of a MS. of the ' R^am 
Majestatem,' by Alexander Guthrie, which belonged to the 
library of the Grahams of Fintry, in Forfarshire. 



William Dunbar was probably bom in 1460, the year 
when James III. succeeded to the crown by the death of 
his father from the bursting of a cannon at Roxburgh, when 
inspecting the last invention in the art of destruction. 
There is no record of his birth, but as he gpraduated as 
Bachelor of Arts at St Andrews in 1477, it can scarcely 
have been later, and may have been a few years earlier. 
He was a native of East Lothian, a fact of importance 
with regard to the dialect of his poems, the North or 


Northumbrian form of Old English, now more familiarly 
known as broad Scotch, although he frequently borrowed 
from the Southern English of Chaucer. Greater sym- 
pathy with, or, to speak more strictly, less antipathy 
to, England and the English, distinguished many Scots of 
Lothian in the beginning of the sixteenth century from 
their countrymen of the immediate Border and the Western 
and Northern districts. He appears, from a passage in the 
" Fl)rting " with Walter Kennedy, his contemporary and rival 
bard, to have been descended from the noble house of 
March, founded by Gospatrick, first Earl of Dunbar, in the 
reign of Malcolm Canmore, who conferred on him the 
manor which gave the title. The traditional policy of this 
family was, by siding sometimes with the English, some- 
times with its own king, to make its influence felt The 
eighth Earl of Dunbar, Patrick, fourth Earl of March, was one 
of the competitors for the crown who submitted to Edward 
L and joined his army. His wife, a better patriot than her 
lord, gave the custody of the Castle of Dunbar to the 
popular leaders. It capitulated to Edward I., but was re- 
covered, perhaps by Wallace. The ninth Earl, siding with 
England, gave Edward II. shelter after Bannockbum, aftei 
wards made terms with Bruce, but reverted to Exlward afte 
the defeat of Halidon Hill in 1334, and rebuilt the castle f 
receive an English garrison. Six years later it was agr 
valiantly defended by Black Agnes, daughter of Rando' 
against the Earl of Salisbury. On the death of her brc 
Thomas at the battle of Durham she became Countess, 
her husband, in her right, Earl of Moray. Her son Ge 
tenth Earl of Dunbar, uniting the earldoms of ^ 
and Moray, was a powerful noble, and his daughf 
betrothed to David, Duke of Rothesay, heir of Rol 
An intrigue between the Regent Albany and Ar 


the grim Earl of Douglas, led to her bemg passed over. A 
daughter of Douglas wedded Rothesay. Earl George, in- 
dignant at this slight, became a pensioner of Henry IV., 
and with Hotspur defeated Douglas at Homildon in 1402. 
His earldom was forfeited for treason, and although the 
forfeiture was condoned by Albany, it was never legally 
recalled. James I., whose policy was to reduce the great 
earls, took advantage of this forfeiture, in 1434, to deprive 
George, the eleventh EarV of his estates. An allowance 
was given him out of the rents of the earldom of Buchan, 
but the once potent family was broken, and their influence 
on the Borders passed to the house of Douglas. Sir Patrick, 
fourth son of George, the tenth Earl, retained the estate 
of Biel, in Haddington. His third son William, mentioned 
in two deeds in 1440, has been conjectured,' from the simi- 
larity of Christian name and the correspondence of dates, 
to have been either the uncle or the father of William 
Dunbar the poet 

This conjecture agrees well with the life and character of 
the poet, who seems to have been a cadet of an illustrious 
but decayed family. It is supported by allusions in Ken- 
nedy's ** Flyting " to Lothian as the place, and the line of 
Gospatrick as the race, from which Dunbar came : — 


How thy forbearis come, I half a feill. 
At Cokbamispeth, the writ makis me war, 

Generit betuix ane sche beir and a deill ; 
Sa wes he callit Dewlbeir and nocht Dumbar: 
This Dewlbeir, generit of a meir of Mar, 

Wes Corspatrik, Erie of Merche ; and be illosioim 

The first that evir put Scotland to confosioan 
Wes that fals tratour, hardely say I dar.**' 

* Act ParL Scot 11, p. 23. 

' The conjectare is due to Mr Laing, ' Memoir of Dunbar,' p. 8 ; and see 
App., p. 65. ' Pp. 19, 20, U. 257-264. 


Than thow v^ 
^,3 Celtic drcss^ , ^* thy polV bre*. and rilUng •.- 
..ThowbringistbeCam ^^^.^^ ^^^ f 

. ent from GospatncK, ^ ^^^^ ^ ad- 

^ *^ 'r;^ over in silen^- ^^ ^ ,^,,, ,„ ^un- 

^'^"'^'' ^oTlusion to his famdy 

^tted. No*^^'* ,Wrd son of Gabert. first 

^^3 Poetos. Walter>^ 3.^1,09 of St 

His rival Kenney ,f K«a ^ ^^^^^, „f 

^'^'^'' tsSn traced i-*^/;^ee of Master of Ar 
that name bas.^ 5 to ^ ^e? d„,other 

his --«^-^l Kennedys mo^^^ ^-y' ^^^^ 

^« ^ Tho married as h^ ^^ ^„«,ero«s famd- 
of Angos.^^o^ ^cbeadofti^* 

Kennedy 01 , ^^. u5- pp. 440. 4 


that dan in Carrick. Hence Kennedy in the "Flyting" 

boasts that he was '' of the King's blood" 

The family of Dunure acquired the earldom of Cassilis, 

and went on increasing in importance until it became a 

proverb, — 

" Twixt Vngtown and the town of Ayr, 
Portpatrick and the Cruives of Dee, 
No man need think to bide there 
Unless he court Saint Kennedie." ^ 

The poets were thus contrasted as belonging to the East 
and West of Scotland, to the English and the Celtic race, 
and to a fallen and a rising family. All these points com- 
bined to give edge to the invective against each other, 
which, although supposed by the best judges to be not 
altogether, yet was at least partly serious. His Lothian 
origin also fitted Dunbar to take the place of leader of 
the Scottish minstrelsy, and to fill, as the most repre- 
sentative name, — ^though Henryson, Gavin Douglas, and 
David Lyndsay should not be forgotten, — a gap in the 
succession between Chaucer, Gower, Lydgat^ and the 
Elizabethan poetSL 


As was natural in those days^ the clever son of a poor 
but good family was destined from the cradle to the service 
of the Church : — 

*^ 1 wes in ^owth on norciss kne, 
Dandely, bischop, dandely." 

But the flattering prophecy was not fulfilled : — 

1 Thb is Sir W. Scott's ▼esBoii, taken down from Ofal tnditioD. Another, 
sK^itly diffBcnt, win be fboDd in ' History of the Fimilj of Kennedy/ p. 166. 


" And quhen that ege now dois me greif, 
Ane semple vicar I can nocht be : 
Excess of thocht dois me mischeif."^ 

Dunbar, like Swift, with whom he has more than one 
point of resemblance, notwithstanding the different times 
in which they lived, was a seeker after preferment, and dis- 
appointed hopes gave a peculiar bitterness to the tone of 
his mind. 

We do not know where he received his school education. 
The nearness of Biel to Haddington makes it probable that 
it was at the famous school of that town, which had already 
educated Bower ^ the historian, and was to educate John 
Major the scholastic philosopher, and John Knox the 
Reformer. Dunbar makes no reference to the locality from 
which he came, unless the vivid picture of the birds which 
accompanied the flight and saw the fall of the Abbot of 
Tungland was due to one familiar with the natural won- 
der of the Bass. 

The allusions to the Lollards in Kennedy's "Flyting" 
against Dunbar may be due to the seeds of WycliPs doc- 
trine having already found a congenial soil in East Lothian 
and the East Lothian poet. It was a natural topic for satire 
by a son of a family so staunch to the old Church as the 
Kennedys at that time were. The transplanting o< 
Wyclifs books to Scotland is usually ascribed to Jot 
of Gaunt's visit, when afraid of the peasants rising in 13^ 
and Gaunt, the patron of Wyclif, stayed at Haddington 
his way to Edinburgh. James Resby, the first martyr 

' P. 106, xxii., U. 61-65. 

^ John Bower, Deputy Customer of Haddington, 1395-98, was the 
of Walter — Exchequer Rolls, voL iv. p. 88. Walter, Abbot of Ind 
1 41 8 (Scotichronicon, xv. 30), wrote the continuation of the Scotir 
con of John of Fordoun between 1440 and 1447, and died 1449. 



Scotland for the Reformation, who was burnt in 1406, is 
said by Bower to have been an English priest and follower 
of Wyclif ; and the same historian notes that in 1422, the 
year before the burning of Crawar the Hussite at St 
Andrews, ^incipit volatilis pestilentia in burgo de Had- 
ington." ^ 

Possibly Kennedy's reference to Dunbar as ''Lollard 
laureate " ^ and as 


Pickit, wickit, conwickit, lamp Lollardonun ; 
Defamyt, blamyt, schamyt, Primas Paganorum," 

are mere random shafts;' but in a more serious poem, 
" The Praise of Age," he shows his fear of the new sect : — 


The schip of faith tempestuous wind and rain 
Dryvis in the see of Lollardy that blaws." 

We find a little later ^ East Lothian families — the Crichtons 
of Brunston, the Cockbums of Ormiston, the Douglases of 
Longniddry, and the Heriots of Traprain — ^were amongst 
the hearers of the preaching of Wishart A hidden under- 
current of the new doctrine may have survived the persecu- 
tion of its disciples in that county as in Ayrshire.^ 

As r^[ards Dunbar, while there was no apparent loosen- 
ing of the ties which bound him to Roman doctrine, there 
is in his poetry a free handling of the services of the Church, 
and an ironical treatment of the lives of the friars and 
higher ecclesiastics, which made him a precursor of Lynd- 
say, the poet who 

" Branded the vices of the age, 
And broke the keys of Rome." 

^ Scotichronicon, xvL 2a 

' Laing's Notes, yoL iL pp. 419, 445. 

' Knox's History of the Reformation. 

« " Flyting," U. 524 and 548. 
* Knox, ToL ii. p. 90. 



It is satisfactory to be able to date the next steps in his 
life. His name occurs in the Register of St Andrews ^ as a 
Determinant or Bachelor of Arts in 1477, and as a Master 
of Arts in 1479. The degree of Bachelor required three 
years' residence, so he must have gone to St Andrews at 
least as early as 1474, when probably in his fourteenth year, 
and remained at least till 1479; but a longer residence, 
after graduation, was common in universities at a period 
when men of mature years continued scholars. In the 
case of Dunbar, it is probable that shortly after taking 
his degree as Master of Arts he turned his attention 
to theology, and became, with no great goodwill, a 
novice in the Observantine branch of the Franciscans, 
either in Edinburgh, where James I., or in St Andrews, 
where Kennedy the Bishop, had founded a house of that 
order. It was the easiest source of procuring a livelihood, 
and Dunbar had been all along intended for the clerical 
profession. But embracing the monastic calling without 
zeal, with the heart of a poet and not of a monk, must have 
been a false step. 

Dunbar, during his youth and early manhood a disciple 
of Horace rather than of St Francis, was sensible through 
life of the irony of his situation, and regretted the choice of 
an order whose vows of poverty stood in the way of h' 
advancement even in the Church, and whose strict ml 
was inconsistent with the character of a courtier ar 
man of the world. There is no institution of human 

^ Acta Facnltatis Artiom, App. I. 


vention more difficult to judge impartially than monasti- 
dsm. A writer like Buchanan saw only its vices, a writer 
like Montalembert only its virtues. Less biassed observers 
are distracted by the coexistence of fervid piety and self- 
sacrifice with degrading sin and self-indulgence, the highest 
learning and the densest ignorance, humility and pride, 
sincerity and hypocrisy. So far as the life of Dunbar is 
concerned, one conclusion is sufficient. In Scotland, as in 
Europe, during the period preceding the Reformation, the 
attempt to attain to a higher standard of morals by sepa- 
rate societies living by rule a life called religious, though 
succeeding in individuals, broke down as a general or con- 
tinuous system. The older orders were frequently reformed ; 
new order followed new order, imposing with new zeal 
stricter rules, but the old evils repeated themselves. The 
brotherhood founded by the holy zeal of St Francis of 
Assisi in the thirteenth century was no exception. The 
corruption of the best produced the worst, because it was a 
fall from so high an ideal The description of the Francis- 
can friars in the satire of Buchanan might be deemed the 
exaggeration of an adversary. But it does not stand alone. 
It was ratified by the popular verdict, not only in Scot- 
land but throughout Europe. 

No suspicion of the Protestant prejudice of Buchanan 
can attach to Dunbar, who, although he rejected the cowl, 
remained all his life a Roman Catholic. In a poem of a 
later date, "The Vision of St Francis,*' which Buchanan 
imitated in his poem called "Somnium," Dunbar, after 
he had abandoned the intention of becoming a r^^lar or 
monk, and chosen the calling of a secular priest, describes 
his earlier experience when a novice of the Franciscan 
order : — 


" Gif cvir my fortoun wes to be a freir. 
The dait thairof is past full mony a jeir; 
For into every lusty toun and place 
Off all Yngland, from Berwick to Kalice, 
I haif in to thy habeit maid gud cheir. 

In freiris weid full fairly haif I fleichit. 
In it haif I in pulpet gon and preichit 
In Demtoun kirk, and eik in Canterberry ; 
In it I past at Dover our the ferry 
Throw Piccardy, and thair the peple teichit 

Als lang as I did beir the freiris style, 
In me, God wait, wes mony wrink and wyle ; 
In me wes falset with every wicht to flatter, 
Quhilk mycht be flemit with na haly watter ; 
I wes ay reddy all men to begyle." *' 

Kennedy refers to the same passage in Dunbar's life in 
the " Fl)rting," though he names a different locality as the 
scene of his exploits as a begging friar : — 

" Fra Etrike Forest furthward to Drumfrese 
Thow beggit with a pardoun in all kirkis, 
Collapis, cruddis, mele, grotis, gpisis, and geis, 
And ondir nycht quhyle stall thou staggis et stirkis." ' 

The period during which Dunbar studied at St Andrews, 
and the years immediately following, were a time of discord 
in Scotland, both in State and Church. James III., after 
marrying Margaret of Denmark in 1469, emancipated him- 
self from the Boyds, who had usurped the government 
during his minority. He soon showed incapacity for gov- 
ernment He quarrelled with the Parliament of 1473, 
which refused to allow him to join in the war of Louis XL 
against Charles the Bold ; with his brothers, one of whom. 
Mar, he imprisoned, perhaps murdered — while the other, 

^ P. 132, 11. 31.45. « "Flyting," 11. 425-428. 


Albany, escaping to England, became in revenge a traitor 
to his country ; with the Archbishop of St Andrews, Pat- 
rick Graham, whose deposition he aided in procuring from 
Pope Sixtus IV. in 1476 ; and with the people by debas- 
ing the coinage. He threw himself into the hands of fa- 
vourites, who pandered to vices, or flattered tastes carried 
to an extent fatal to the royal dignity. Of these, the chief 
were William Schevez, a man of learning in medicine, 
mathematics, and astronomy, but addicted to astrology, 
who became Archbishop after supplanting Graham ; Robert 
Cochrane, a mason skilled in architecture, created Earl or 
given the revenue of the earldom of Mar ; Rogers, an Eng- 
lish musician ; Andrews, another physician and astrologer ; 
Hommil„ a tailor ; Ramsay, a man of better birth, but a 
parasite, — associates whom proud nobles could not but 
regSLvd as low company for a king, and even the commons 
despised. At the Bridge of Lauder, in 1482, the nobles, 
led by Angus Bell-the-Cat, hung Cochrane and other of 
the favourites before the king's eyes. Hommil the tailor 
and Ramsay escaped, and were treated with increasing 
favour. Five years after, the barons rose in arms in 
name of the young prince, James IV. After a boot- 
less attempt at conciliation by the pacification of Black- 
ness, the weak king was killed at Sauchie on nth June 
1488, within sight of Bannockbum, — it was said by a 
priest, or pretended priest, when in the act of confession. 
The astrologer who invented the prophecy that the lion 
would be devoured by his whelps, which had alienated the 
king's superstitious mind from his brothers, might claim 
that it was literally fulfilled 

In England the same period was one of dvil war, until 
the victory of Bosworth Field in 1485 placed the first 


Tudor, Henry VII., on the throne he maintained by 
prudent policy. In France, the long and successful reign 
of Louis XI., who reduced the feudal aristocracy and com- 
menced the centralisation of the kingdom, ended in 1483, 
and his son, Charles VIII., from whose Italian wars the 
French Renaissance dates, was as anxious as his father to 
cultivate the friendship of Scotland. To France, for two 
centuries, the Scot in search of learning, fortune, adven- 
ture, went, as he now goes to England, America, Africa, or 
the colonies. In Frendi service Scottish scholars found 
chairs, Scottish priests benefices, Scottish soldiers their 
colours, and, if successful, the honours and the spoils of war. 
Not a few adopted a country which received them so hos- 
pitably, and scarcely a province was without Scottish blood 
amongst its gentry. France hardly seemed a foreign 
country. As the ties broke which once united the Norman 
of England and France, a stronger bond, which did not 
require the myth of an ancient league in the days of 
Charlemagne, was formed between the French and the 
Scotch against the common enemy. 

George Buchanan has described the feeling of the travel- 
ling Scot for France in beautiful lines : — 

"At tubeata Gallia 
Salve ! bonarum blanda nutriz artium, 
Orbem receptans hospitem atque orbi tuas 
Opes vicissim non avara impertiens 
Sermon! comis, patria gentium omnium 



To France, Dunbar, the wandering friar, naturally pai 
The first certain notice of his passage is in the third ; 


of James IV., when an embassy, headed by Patrick Hep- 
burn, Earl of Bothwell, and Robert Blackadder, Bishop of 
Gla^ow, was sent to n^otiate a marriage for the young 
king; but there can be little doubt that a considerable 
part of the period after he disappears from the St An- 
drews register in 1479 till 1491, when the Elatherine sailed 
from North Berwick, was spent in foreign travel, probably 
partly in France. His own allusion — 

" In it [<>., the friar's garb] I past at Dover our the ferry 
Throw Piccardy, and thair the peple teichit," ^ 

is plainly bic^^phicaL Kennedy's reproach, ** Thow scapis 
in France to be a knycht of the felde," and more than one 
reference to Mount Falcon, the famous place of execution 
in Paris, as the destiny of Dunbar, must refer to this part 
of his life, and not to a later, when he was in the service of 
the king. 

Kennedy's part of the "Flyting" was written when 
Dunbar was in Paris, but whether at this or some prior or 
subsequent time is uncertain. 

" And yit Mount Falconn gallowis is our fair, 
For to be fylde with sic a frutles face ; 
Cum home, and hing on our gallowis of Aire, 
To erd the vnder it I sail purchas grace.** ' 

This may account for Dunbar having addressed his reply 
to his friend Sir John the Ross, for the purpose of circulat- 
ing in Scotland his answer to the challenge of Kennedy. 

But while doubt hangs over these earlier years of wander- 
ing, the allusion to his voyage in the Katherine, where he 
so misbehaved that, according to the " Flyting," 

" The skippar bad ger land the at the Bas,**' 

P. 132, IL 39, 4a 'LI. 369-372 ; and see also L 387. 

' LL 449-464. 



is confirmed by the Treasurer's Accounts of a payment made 
on i6th July 1491, "to the priest that wrayt the instru- 
mentis and otheris letteris that past with the Imbassiatouris 
in France, 36/." Mr Laing conjectures with great probabil- 
ity that Dunbar may have been this priest, and that he had 
now quitted the odious friar's garb, and entered the royal 
service as a clerk or notary, — a practice common amongst 
the ecclesiastics of that age, whose learning fitted them for 
posts now held by the legal or diplomatic professions. 

Assuming that he then, if not earlier, visited France and 
Paris, the importance of the visit to his poetic training 
cannot be doubted. Although the masters he recognises 
by name are the earlier English poets of the end of the 
fourteenth and beginning of the fifteenth century — Chaucer, 
Gower, and Lydgate the Monk of Bury — his poems show 
that he was directly influenced by the French school, not 
merely at second hand through imitation of English 
authors who copied a still earlier French poetry. At this 
period English poetry, which had so splendid a spring 
in Chaucer, passed through successive stages of decline, 
marked by the moral poems of Gower, the translations of 
Lydgate and Occleve, and the doggerel rhymes of Skelton, 
into a dormant state, in which it continued until with 
Wyatt and Surrey the first notes were heard which 
ushered in "the spacious times of great Elizabeth." 

Scotland, whose lot it was to be generally about a centur 
behind both England and France, took, as it did a secon 
time in the end of the eighteenth century, an independf 
lead in literature. It caught up the poetic mantle, a 
Henryson, Gavin Douglas, Dunbar, Barclay, and Lyndf 
surpass their English contemporaries. 

France produced no medieval poet equal to Chai 



Its writers sacrificed the beauties of thought to the beauties 
of style. But an uninterrupted succession of minor min- 
strels, masters of melody, except when they allowed their 
natural vein to be hidden in the artificial forms then in 
vog^e, flourished from the fourteenth to the sixteenth cen- 
tury. Eustace Deschamps, who died in 141 5, published an 
* Art of Poetry,' in which several of the metres Dunbar used 
are described. The three writers nearest his time, and most 
likely to have exerted influence on him, were Alain Char- 
tier (1390- 1458), the poet whose lips, from which so many 
fine sayings and virtuous thoughts came, were kissed by 
Margaret,^ daughter of James I.' of Scotland, the wife of 
Louis XI.; Charles of Orleans (1391-1465), the fellow- 
prisoner of James I. in England, who wrote both French 
and English poems; and, above all, Francis Villon (143 1- 
89), the first great French poet Villon's works were 
printed two years before Dunbar went with the embassy to 
Paris, and they may have met in previous visits. With 
some notable diflerences, the points of contact between 
Dunbar and Villon are closer than with any other poet 
Dunbar probably remained abroad after 1491, but for nine 
years his life is hidden. Perhaps he remained in France 
after the embassy returned, though Mr Laing's researches 
failed to find any traces of him there. In the University 
of Paris, about that time, William Elphinstone, Bishop of 
Aberdeen; Gavin Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld; Robert 
Cockbum, Bishop of Ross ; Boece the historian. Major the 
theologian, and Panther the secretary of James IV., besides 
many less famous countrymen of Dunbar, were students. 

^ Puttenham transfers this story by mistake to Anne of Brittany, ' Arte of 
English Poesie/ Arber's Reprint, p. 35. Knox perhaps had it in view when 
he narrates the story of Mary and Chastelard. 


Whether his travels extended beyond France is not certain. 
Kennedy seems to imply that at the date of the " Flyting " 
they had not done so : — 

" Thou may not pas Mount Barnard for wild bestis. 
Nor wyn throw Mount Scarpre for the snawe ; 
Mount Nycholas, Mount Godart thare arestis, 
Brigantis sik bois and biyndis thame wyth a blawe."^ 

But he claims himself in a poem, probably of later date, to 
have served the king : — 

" Nocht I say all be this cuntre, 
France, Ingland, Ireland, Almaine, 
Bot als be Italic and Spane ; 
Quhilk to considder is ane pane.** ' 

The curious concatenation of countries, if not merely for 
rhyme's sake, looks like a fragment of biography. It must 
for the present remain a fragment There is nothing im- 
probable in a priest like Dunbar having been sent on 
missions to these countries, and James IV. had negotiations 
with them all. Scotland at this epoch was like Savoy in 
the present century — a small country which the disputes of 
more powerful states raised to European importance. The 
Scottish king was courted by the Pope and by England, 
France, Germany, and Spain. An embassy to Spain, with 
Robert Blackadder, Archbishop of Glasgow, at its head, 
was sent to the Court of Ferdinand and Isabella in August 
1495, when these monarchs were holding out hopes to James 
of a Spanish bride ; and as Dunbar accompanied the samr 
prelate to France in 149 1, and to England in 1 501, it is nc 
improbable he also went in his suite to Spain. James a 
one time seriously considered a project to place himself 

» " nyting,** p. 25, 11. 433-436. * ** Of the Warldis InsUbiUtie," p. 2 


the head ot the armies of Venice, when that Republic was 
threatened by the Holy League. Some Irish chiefs made 
him an offer of the crown of Ireland. 

From another allusion in the ^' Flyting," it may perhaps 
be inferred that he had been shipwrecked on the coast of 
Norway : — 

" By Holland, Seland, ^etland, and Northway coist. 
In desert quhair we wer famist aw ; 
^it come I hame, Cals baird, to lay thy boist** ^ 

Yet it is singular, if Dunbar was so great a traveller, that 
no further notices of foreign countries have given a colour 
to his verses. Beyond a few allusions to France, where it 
is certain he had been, the verses on London, and those 
written at Oxford ** On the Vanity of Learning without a 
Good Life," there would be scarcely any evidence that he 
had crossed the Border. We are unfortunately led to sus- 
pect the loss of important poems. 


The offering of the king at the first mass of a priest he 
attended was a common usage. It was made in honour of 
Dunbar on i6th March 1504, and proves that the abandon- 
ment of the Franciscan order did not carry him to the 
further point of quitting the service of the Church. Not- 
withstanding the freedom of his satire, which is directed 
more against the regular than the secular clergy, he con- 
tinued to hope for a benefice. The precursor of Lyndsay 
in the reforming tendency of his writings, he shows no trace 
of accepting, even in a modified form, the doctrines of the 

1 u. 94-96. 


Reformed Church. As he advanced in age he became a 
more pious observer of the Roman ritual His last poems 
are religious hymns in conformity with the Roman creed. 

From the first year of the sixteenth century down to the 
eve of the fatal year of Flodden, the Treasurer's Accounts 
contain a series of entries which show that Dunbar was at 
the Court of James IV. in the character of Court poet. 
Similar payments were made to Blind Harry, John the Ross, 
and Quintyn Schaw, as well as other bards and singers. 
James, though not a poet, inherited from his great-grand- 
father a taste for poetry, which he transmitted to his son 
James V. and his granddaughter Mary Stuart Poetry 
was a fashion of the Court, as song was a passion 
amongst the people of Scotland. But the payments to 
Dunbar were made with more regularity than to the other 
poets, and, taken in conjunction with the title of the 
Rhymer of Scotland, which was given him when he ac- 
companied the embassy to England in 1501, they seem to 
justify the inference that he would have been called Poet 
Laureate had that name been used at the Scottish Court 

On 15th August 1500, a grant was made to Master 
William Dunbar of a pension of ;^I0 out of the king^s 
coffers, to be paid him all the days of his life, or until he 
was promoted to a benefice of £/^o a-year or more. This 
pension was paid till 1507, when it was doubled, and con- 
tinued at that rate probably till Whitsunday 15 10, but the 
accounts between 1508- 15 10 are lost It was increased by 
a new grant on 20th August 1 5 10 to £io a-year, to be paid 
till he received a benefice of £ 100 or more. The larger 
pension continued to be paid till 14th May 15 13. The 
troubles after Flodden again made a gap in the Register 
from 8th August 15 13 to June 15 15, and as no payment 


appears in the later accounts of James V., the pension prob- 
ably ceased. Besides his pension, Dunbar received grat- 
uities — one on 27th January 1506, and again on 4th Janu- 
ary 1507, because "he wanted his gown at Yule," which 
indicates that a livery was part of his emoluments. From 
an entry on 23d June 15 12 we learn that the livery con- 
sisted of 6}^ ells Paris black cloth for a gown. Two entries 
have special interest, — on 20th December 1501, one of £$9 
which was paid him after he came furth of England ; and 
that already alluded to on i6th March 1504, when the king 
made an offering of £4^ 14s. at Master William Dunbar's 
first mass. 


The former of these entries led to the conjecture that 
Dunbar had been attached to the mission sent to London in 
1 501 to negotiate the marriage between James and Mar- 
garet Tudor, and this may now be deemed proved. The 
embassy consisted of Robert Blackadder, Archbishop of 
Gla^ow; Patrick Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, High Ad- 
miral ; Andrew Foreman, Apostolical Protonotary ; and Sir 
Robert Lundy, Knight, Treasurer of Scotland, with a suite 
of one hundred persons. Two of the Commissioners, the 
Earl of Bothwell, and the Archbishop of Glasgow, were the 
same as went to Paris on a similar errand ten years before. 
An entry in Henry VII.'s Privy Purse Accounts bears that 
on 31st December 1501, and again on 7th January 1502, 
"The Rhymer of Scotland" received £6^ 13s. 4d from 
the king. This rhymer, there can be no doubt, was Dun- 


bar, and the payments were perhaps a reward for his poem 
in praise of London : — 

'* London, thou art of townes A per se. 
Soveraign of cities, semeliest in sight, 
Of high renoun, riches and royaltie ; 
Of lordis, barons, and many goodly knyght" ^ 

The MS. chronicle in which it has been preserved relates : 
" This yere in the Cristmas weke the Mair had to dyner 
the ambassadors of Scotland, whom accompanyed my Lord 
Chaunceler and other Lords of the realm ; where sittying 
at dyner ane of the said Scottis givying attendance upon a 
Bishop Ambassador^ the which was reputed to be a Proto- 
notary of Scotland and servant of the Ld. Bishops made this 
BcUadeP Dunbar was not, as " reputed," a protonotary, but 
it is quite possible he was a notary or clerk, in this embassy, 
as in the former one to France, and a member of the suite 
of Blackadder, the Bishop of Glasgow. The calling him a 
protonotary was probably a confusion with Foreman, who 
held that office, but was not a poet. 

Although Dunbar's name is not appended to the poem 
in the only MS.^ in which it is found, his manner is unmis- 
takable. It is in his ornate, or, as the phrase then was, 
"aureate" style, in which he wrote "The Thistle and 
the Rose " and " The Goldyn Targe," — ^not in the simple 
and more natural strain of " The Lament for the Makaris " 
or "The Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo." A Court 
poem should be in a Court dress. 

The betrothal of James IV. and Margaret Tudor at 
Richmond on St Paul's Day, 25th January 1502, was pro- 
claimed at St Paul's Cross on the same day, but no men- 
tion is made of Dunbar in the full account of the ceremonies 

^ P. 276. ' ViteUius, A. xvL, foL 200, British Musemn. 


by Young, the Somerset Herald. Hall states in his chron- 
icle that after this proclamation ** the ambassadors, as well 
of Spayne as Scotlande, tooke them leave of the kynge, 
and not without great rewardes departed into their countryes 
and habitations." Probably Dunbar accompanied them 
home. The two poems of " The Thistle and the Rose " 
and the short Ballad b^^inning — 

" Now fayre, fayrest off every fayre, 
Princes most plesant and preclare. 
The lustyest one alyve that byne, 
Welcum of Scotland to be Quene ! " — 

were written in Scotland to welcome Margaret on her 
arrival. The former bears the date of 9th May 1503 : — 

" And thuss I wret, as Je half hard to forrow. 
Off lusty May vpone the nynt morrow." ^ 

Margaret left Richmond on i6th June 1503, and ar- 
rived at Dalkeith on 3d and at Edinburgh on 7th August 
The marriage was celebrated at Holyrood on the 8th. 
" The hangings of the State Chamber," says Young, " rep- 
resented the history of Troy ; and the painted glass in the 
windows were the arms of England and Scotland biparted^ 
to which a thistle and a rose intertwined through a crown 
were added. After dinner the minstrels played." 

The song — ^preserved, with the music* to which it was 
set — sung on this occasion was Dunbar's, of which the 
opening stanza has been quoted.' 

" The Thistle and the Rose " was a more elaborate ef- 
fort — ^too elaborate, in the opinion of modem judges, but 

» p. 189. 

' MS. British Museum, quoted in Miss Strickland's 'Life of Bfargaret 
Tudor,' p. 58. 
» P. 279, 


quite in the style of the times, in the character of the 
allegory and the mixture of classic names with the objects 
of nature. While it is the work of a Court poet, Dunbar 
avoids the flights of flattery common in epithalamia, and 
even gives good advice to his sovereign : — 

" The King of Beistis mak I the. 
And the cheif protector in woddis and schawls ; 
Onto thi leigis go furth, and keip the lawis."^ 

And in another pi 

" And, sen thow art a king, thow be discreit ; 
Herb without vertew thow hald nocht of sic pryce 
As herb of vertew and of oder sueit ; 
And lat no nettill vyle, and full of vyce, 
Hir fallow to the gudly flour delyce ; 
Nor latt no wyld weid, full of churlicheness, 
Compair hir till the lilleis nobilness. 

Nor hald non vdir flour in sic denty 

As the fresche Ross, of cuUour reid and quhyt ; 

For g^fe thow dois, hurt is thyne honesty." * 

To a somewhat later date may be ascribed the poem 
beginning " Gladethe thoue Queyne of Scottis Regioun," 
in which Dunbar expresses the prayer of the nation : — 

" Gret Gode ws graunt that we have long desirit, 
A plaunt to spring of thi successioun, 

Syne with all grace his spreit to be inspirit ;" — 

and makes the favourite play on her name as the Pearl : — 

" O precius Margreit, plesand, cleir, and quhit, 
Moir blith and bricht na is the beriall schene, 
Moir deir na is the diamaunt of delit, 
Moir semely na is the sapheir one to seyne, 
Moir gudely eik na is the emerant greyne, 
Moir riche na is the ruby of renovne, 
Fair gem of joy, Mergreit of the I meyne."^ 

1 P. i86, 11. 103-105. « P. 187, 11. 134-143. • P. 275. 


The increase of Dunbar^s pension from ;^ lo to £20 in 
1507, and again to ;^8o in 15 10, shows his services were 
appreciated by the king. The value in English money of 
the largest of these pensions was only about £2^ sterling, 
but its purchasing power was at least equal to ;^8o sterling 
now. Hector Boece, as Principal of King's College, Aber- 
deen, in 1505 had only 40 merks, or £t^ 12s. 4d. sterling, of 
a salary ; and, relatively to other gifts to poets and men of 
letters in that age, Dunbar, who had perquisites besides his 
Yule gown, was highly paid. Yet a section of his poems, 
addressed as petitions to the King, the Queen, the Treas- 
urer, and James Doig, the Keeper of the Queen's Ward- 
robe, prove he was not satisfied. He seems to have deeply 
felt the slight put upon him when benefices were bestowed 
on unworthy recipients, while he never got his long-prom- 
ised cure. It is not necessary to suppose that he was 
too fond of money. Avarice was a vice which he specially 
hated. But a benefice would have been more secure, as is 
shown by the cessation of his pension, which depended on 
the king^s pleasure, and a vicarage would have been an 
office of more dignity. 

It is not easy to gauge exactly the position of a poet at 
the Scottish Court of this period. On the one hand, he 
was often well received. Learning, wit, and genius were 
probably quite as highly valued as in our time. But, on 
the other hand, the poet was only one of many ministers 
or servants who had to cater to the royal pleasure. Dunbar 
gives a vivid sketch of the motley crew : — 

" Sum singes ; sum dancis ; sum tellis storeis ; 
Sum lait at evin bring^s in the moreis ; 
Sum flyrdis ; sum feyn^eis ; and sum flattiris ; 
Sum playis the fule, and all-out dattiris." ^ 

^ P. 206, " Aganis the Solistaris m Court" 


The Accounts of the Treasurer and of the Exchequer 
afford ample evidence how the lavish king rewarded all 
these classes with gifts, as well as the rhymers, who were 
in the estimation of many courtiers only another class of 
professional people destined for their amusement Often, 
too, the Court is as fickle as the mob, and Dunbar com- 
plains, in the poem " Of the Warldis Instabilitie," ^ of — 

" The leill labour lost, and leill seruice, 
The lang avail! on humill wyse. 
And the lytill rewarde agane, 

For to considder is ane pane. 

I knaw nocht how the kirk is g^dit, 
Bot beneficis ar nocht leill devydit ; 
Sum men hes sewin, and I nocht ane ; 

Quhilk to considder is ane pane." 

It is the same sentiment which Coleridge expressed in 
other words : — 

" It sounds like tidings from the world of spirits, 
When any man attains that which he merits, 
Or any merits that which he attains." 

Worst of all, in this kind of life there was a sacrifice of 
independence. The Court poet was expected to sing when 
the occasion demanded, whether the muse was present 
or not. 

Dunbar's revenge on a patron and a society which knew 
his value, but not his full value, was taken by free use of 
the irony and satire of which he had a ready store. But 
irony and satire, though they please apparently all but 
their victims, are dangerous weapons, often wounding most 
the hand which uses them. ■ They leave a sting in the 

^ P. 226. 


heart, increasing instead of diminishing its discontent 
Dunbar ends his long catalogue of the wrong^s — 

" Quhilk to considder is ane pane,** 

with an unexpected verse — 

" The fonnest hoip Jit that I haue 
In all this warld, sa God me saue, 
Is in Jour Grace, bayth crop and grayne, 
Quhilk is ane lessing of my pane." 

This hope also was doomed to disappointment, for he never 
got even the 

" Kirk scant coverit with hadder." 

There must have been an irksome monotony in the life 
of the Court — Dunbar's lot for thirteen years of man- 
hood, until, having grown grey in the king's service, he 
presented the touching " Petition of the Gray Horse," ^ 
which, when granted, after all is only for the cost of his 
trappings. Apparently his Christmas gown had again 
not been forthcoming until the king issued a special 
mandate : — 

" Eftir our wrettingis, thesaurer, 
Tak in this gray horss, Auld Dunbar, 
Quhilk in my aucht with schervice trew 
In lyart changeit is in hew. 
Gar howss him now aganis this ^uilli 
And busk him lyk ane beschopis muill, 
For with my hand I have indost 
To pay quhat euir his trappingis cost*' 

Mr Laing remarks : ** Whether the words were written 
by the king himself, or added in his name by Dunbar as 
an ingenious mode of expressing his request, the reader 

* Pp. 215-217. 


must be left to his own conjecture." As James IV. is not 
known to have written another verse, most readers will 
conjecture that this one, so completely in Dunbar's manner, 
was written by Dunbar. 


Nor was Dunbar exempt from the common ills of human- 
ity. It is the penalty of genius that it feels them more 
keenly than the ordinary man. One of the best known of 
his poems is the " Lament for the Makaris, written when 
le was sick and in fear of death." As it was published 
^by Chepman in 1508, this must have been written before — 
probably the year before. Besides its poetic value, it has 
much interest as bearing on his character, and preserving 
the names of the poets who preceded him or were his con- 
temporaries. His earlier writings were of a lighter, happier, 
and freer vein, though in none is the moral distant Like 
most of his countrymen, he had never learned the modem 
dogma that art is independent of morality. But in this 
poem the moral is always present. The refrain, "Timor 
Mortis conturbat me," is the text of a poet's sermon. An 
oration of Bossuet or Massillon, of Taylor or South, with its 
splendours of pulpit eloquence, brings less near home the 
lessons of death. The greatest preacher seldom forgets 
himself. Dunbar is overpowered by the burden of his 
poem, and expresses it simply by a catalogue of the poets, 
dead or dying, as Villon in his Ballades of Dead Beauties 
and Dead Heroes, which must have been in Dunbar's 
knowledge, though there is no direct imitation. Both 
writers followed and improved an earlier theme of the 


medieval Latin poets, of which there is an example in a 
poem, " De Mundi Vanitate." ^ 

Slight as are Dunbar's notices of his brother bards, in 
accordance with the design of the poem, we are enabled by 
them to fill up a passage in the history of literature which 
would be otherwise vacant, and to understand better the 
position Dunbar occupied in the poetic succession* He 
gives the first place to the same triumvirate of English 
poets whom he had celebrated in ** The Goldyn Targe " : — 

" The noble Chaucer, of makaris flouir. 
The Monk of Bery, and Gower, all thre ; 
Timor Mortis conturbat me." 

The others named are his compatriots. Amongst his pre- 
decessors, Barbour, Sir Hugh of Eglintoun, Wyntown, 
Heryot ; the two Clerks, John Clerk and Clerk of Tranent ; 
Holland, Sir Gilbert Hay; and his immediate precursor, 
Robert Henryson, the Dunfermline poet. Of contempo- 
raries, in the sense that they did not die till after his birth, 
occur the names of Blind Harry, Sandy Traill, James 
Affleck, Sir Mungo Lockhart of the Lee, the two Rowls of 
Aberdeen and Corstorphine, Sir John the Ross and Sir 
John Rede or Stobo, Patrick Johnston, Quintyn Schaw, 
and Walter Kennedy. The two last died probably shortly 
before the date of the composition of the poem. So con- 
siderable a list proves that there had been a continuous 
stream of Scottish poetry, commencing with Barbour in the 
first half of the fourteenth century, continued by Wyntown 
the Chronicler in the commencement and by Blind Harry 
and Henryson from the middle to the end of the fifteenth 
century, but bearing with it a fair number of minor poets 

^ Poems of Walter Mapes, edited by T. Wright for Camden Society, 1S41, 
p. 147. 


whose fame now rests on one or two poems almost by 
chance preserved. 


The next event in Dunbar's life brings him into contact 
with the invention which is one of the landmarks that 
separate the middle ages from modem times. 

The printing-press, already used by Fust and Gutenbet^g 
at Mayence in 1457, had reached Paris in 1470 and West- 
minster in 1474. In Rouen, where the art was first prac- 
tised in 1487, a Scotchman, Andrew Myllar, learned it, 
and two books of his, printed there in 1 505 and 1 506, have 
been preserved in unique copies.^ 

The learned and enlightened Bishop of Aberdeen, Elph- 
instone, had spent his youth in France, and seen the early 
triumphs of its press. He desired to print the ' Breviary of 
Aberdeen,* that the Scottish Church might have a service- 
book of its own, and no longer be compelled to resort to 
the " Salisbury use." Probably by Elphinstone's advice, 
James IV. granted on 15 th September 1507 a patent to 
Walter Chepman and Andrew Myllar, who had " taken on 
thaim to bring hame ane prent, with all stuff belangand 
thereto, and expert men to use the samine for imprinting 
within our Realme of the bukis of our Lawis, Acts of Pariia- 
ment, croniclis, massbukis, and porteous efter the use of our 
Realme, with additionis and legendis of Scottis Sanctis, now 
gaderit to be eikit thereto, and all otheris bukis that sail be 
sene necessar, and to sell the samyn for competent pricis." « 

1 Dickson, * Introducdon of the Art of Printing into Scotland.' Aberdeen : 
Edmond & Spark. 1885. ^ 

» Appendix B. to Dickson's * Introdaction. 


Walter Chepman, a merchant and burgess of Edinbui^h, 
was also a notary employed in the office of the king^s sec- 
retary, Patrick Panther, afterwards Abbot of Cambusken- 
neth,^ where he was the colleague of Sir John Rede or 
Stobo, with whom he had been sent on an embassy to 
England. So far back as 1494, Chepman was intrusted 
with the king's Signet for sealing royal letters ; and John 
Rede, alias Stobo, had the special charge of those pass- 
ing the Privy Seal. Stobo, a favourite of the king,' and 
a friend of Dunbar,* though of an older generation, for he 
had been employed in the secretary's office since the reign 
of James II., had died before 13th July 1505, shortly before 
Dunbar wrote the Lament : — 

" And he has now tane, last of aw, 
Gud gentlll Stobo et Quintyne Schaw.*' 

He had probably helped to form the acquaintanceship 
between Chepman and Dunbar which led to a few of his 
poems being amongst the first-fruits of Chepman's press. 
Instead of commencing with the Aberdeen ' Breviary,' a 
large and difficult work, not printed till 1 509, when the 
winter part of it (Pars Hyemalis) was issued, Chepman 
and Myllar printed a few broad, or in this case rather 
narrow or small sheets, as specimens of their craft A 
unique volume, now in the Advocates' Library, found in 
1785 in Ayrshire, and presented to the Library in 1788,* 

^ ' Epistobe Regam Scotonim.' Ruddiman. Pre&ce, p. v. 

* See grant to Stobo in the Exchequer Records. 
' Kennedy says in the '* Flyting" — 

" And syne ger Stobo for thy lyf protest.*'— P. 23. 

* There is a iisusimile reprint of these sheets, edited by Mr Laing, and en- 
titled 'The Knightly Tale of Golagms and Gawane, and other Ancient Poems.' 
Printed at Edinburgh by W. Chepman and A. Myllar, in the year M.D. VITT. 
Reprinted MDCCCXXVII. 



has preserved these separately printed small quarto pieces, 
of which nine certainly issued from the press which had 
been set up in the Southgate of Edinburgh in 1508. Of 
these " The Goldyn Targe," " The Flyting of Dunbar and 
Kennedie," " The Ballad of Lord Bernard Stewart," " The 
Lament for the Makaris," " The Testament of Mr Andre 
Kennedy," " The Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo," ** The 
Ballad of Kynd Kittok," are by Dunbar, and form good 
examples, though examples only, of his style, with its varied 
notes of panegyric, humour, pathos, and satire. Now scarcer 
than the MSS. of his other poems, it may be doubted 
whether many impressions were thrown off. They would 
be eagerly sought after by the collectors of the time as the 
first printed matter in Scotland, but their fugitive nature 
made them, like pamphlets, difficult to preserve. 

Besides Dunbar's poems, the volume contains, in whole 
or in part, " The Knightly Tale of Golag^s and Gawane" ; 
" The Tale of Orpheus and Euridice," by Henryson ; " Ane 
Buke of Gud Counsale to the King how to reuU his 
Realme," addressed to James II., and contained also in the 
MS. of the ' Book of Pluscardine * ; " The Maying or Dis- 
port of Chaucer," to which is subjoined a poem on " The 
Conception of the Virgin," also in the Bannatyne MS. ; 
" The Tale of Sir Eglamour of Artoys," to which is sub- 
joined "A Balade by an Unhappy Lover"; "A Gest of 
Robyn Hude," probably the earliest in print, which was 
also printed by Wynkin de Worde; "The Porteous of 
Noblemen," also in the Asloan MS., and a short tract on 
the Virtues of a Nobleman, translated from the French by 
Master Andrew Cadiow. Such was the favourite literature, 
chiefly, it will be noted, romantic, of Scotland in the 
beginning of the sixteenth century. 



Of one of Dunbar's poems printed at this time, "The 
Welcome to Bernard Stewart, Lord of Aubigny," ^ the date 
can be fixed with singular precision. That renowned 
commander, ranked by Brantome amongst the illustrious 
captains of France, grandson of Sir John Stewart of Dam- 
ley, Marshal of France, General of the Scots forces in the 
service of Charles VII., and son of John Stewart, Lord of 
Aubigny, had already come on an earlier embassy to 
Scotland, sent by Charles VIII., in 1484, to renew the 
ancient league. In 1485 he commanded the French 
auxiliaries of Henry VII. at Bosworth Field, and after- 
wards gained glory in the Italian campaign of Louis XII., 
where he won the battle of Seminara. In 1495 he received 
the title of Constable-General of Naples. Though defeated 
at the same place in 1503 by Hugo, brother of Gonsalvo de 
Cordova, the Grand Captain of Spain, he retained his fame 
at the French Court, and was sent in 1508 to secure the aid 
of James IV. in the Holy League which Pope Julius II. had 
formed with the Kings of France and Spain and the Em- 
peror Maximilian to crush Venice. He arrived in Scot- 
land on 9th May, and was received with honour. James 
IV. placed him at the royal table, made him judge of the 
tournaments, in which the king himself appeared in the 
di^^uise of the Savage Knight, and the Round Table of Ar- 
thur was counterfeited. The king, whose heart was set on 
martial enterprise, styled Aubigny the Father of War. He 
died on the 9th of the month following, and was buried at 
Corstorphine Kirk,* where a recumbent statue of a knight 

* p. 59. * Lesley's History, p. 76. 


in armour was long supposed to mark his tomb, but is 
now attributed to one of the Foresters of Corstorphine. 
On 15th June, the king made an offering at a mass for 
his soul, and his heart was sent to St Ninian's, at Whit- 
horn, to which he had vowed a pilgrimage when he won 
his battles in Italy. The "Welcome " of Dunbar must have 
been written, therefore, between 9th May and 9th June 
1 508, — probably about the earlier, and his El^y on Ber- 
nard Stewart soon after the later, of these dates. Both 
poems are in Dunbar's ornate and least interesting style, 
and were doubtless written by him as Poet-Laureate of the 
Scottish Court. 

Dunbar found a subject for his more natural vein in 
John Damian, the Italian impostor, who, by his skill as a 
surgeon and apothecary, first gained the ear of James IV., 
and then abused his confidence by pretending to multiply 
gold, and practising the other arts of the astrolc^rs. 
Bishop Lesley gives a curious account of Damian, amply 
confirmed by the Accounts of the Treasurer, which show 
frequent payments to him, first under the name of " John, 
the French Leich or Medicinar," and, in 1504, the gift of 
" the Abbay of Tungland." "He causet the kyng believe 
that he, be multiplynge and utheris his inventions, wold 
make fine golde of uther metall, quhilk science he callit 
the quintessence, quherupon the kyng maid g^eat cost, but 
all in vain. The Abbot tuik in hand to flie with wingis 
and to be in France before the saidis Ambassiatoris, and 
to that effect he causit mak ane pair wingis of fedderis, 
quhilkis beand fessenit apon him he flew off the castle 
wall of Stirling, but shortlie he fell to the ground and 
brak his thie bane, bot the evyl thairof he ascrybit to thare 
was some hen fedderis in the wingis, quhilk yarnit and 


covet the middyn and not the skyes." ^ To be able to give 
a clever turn to awkward failures has ever been, Professor 
Schipper observes, one of the chief talents of the adept 
charlatan. The embassy to France which Damian was 
to forestall was despatched in September 1507, so Dunbar's 
poem, "Ane Ballat of the Fengeit Freir of Tungland," 
must have been composed towards the end of that year, 
when his attempted flight was in fresh memory. 

About the same period Dunbar wrote another satirical 
poem, commencing " Lucina schynnyng in silence of the 
nicht," in which the poet sees in a dream the Abbot's 
adventures in the air: — 

" Quhen I awoik, my dreme it was so nyce, 
Ffra every wicht I hid it as a vyce ; 
Quhill I hard tell be mony suthfast wy, 
f^ wold one abbot vp in to the sky. 
And all hisfethreme nudd wes at devyce^ * 

With g^reat ingenuity the poet introduces into his vision a 
prophecy that he would get no benefice until the Abbot 
flew to heaven with eagles' feathers, but hints that the 
prophecy was not to be fulfilled 

" Be [f>., before] than it salbe neir this warldis end.** 

The impostor abbot kept the favour of the king, whose 
weak points he had seen through. He was allowed leave 
of absence for five years in 1 508, keeping the revenues of 
his abbacy, and on his return hit upon a new device to 
get money from the credulous king — ^the working of the 
mines of Crawford Moor,* where gold had been found in 
small quantity, yet suflicient to give hopes of more. But 
the poet was no nearer his benefice : flattery and cunning 
paid better than satire and wit. 

* P. 76. ' P. 15a ' March 29, 1 5 13, £70 paid to the Abbot of Ttmgland. 



In May 151 1, Queen Margaret, on her way to a pilgrim- 
age to St Duthac's, of Tain, visited, for the first time, Aber- 
deen, then the second town of Scotland in the amount of 
its revenues, famed of old as the see of St Machar, and 
receiving new lustre by the pious care of Bishop Elphin- 
stone, who was laying the foundation of the University in 
King's College, named after James IV. Dunbar, several of 
whose poems point to his having been specially attached 
to the queen's as well as the king^s household, accompanied 
her, and celebrated her entry in the poem — 

" BIyth Aberdein, thow beriall of all tounis. 
The lamp of bewtie, bountie, and blythnes." ^ 

He describes in it "The Masques," which, by the custom 
of that age, g^reeted a royal entry. The queen was met 
by the magistrates in velvet robes. Four of them held 
over her a pall of crimson velvet as she rode through the 
streets. A fine procession met her at the port, and the 
following scenes were represented by the bui^esses and 
their families, or perhaps by actors hired for the occasion : 
From Scripture history, — the " Salutation of the Virgin ; " 
the " Three Kings of the East offering gold, frankincense, 
and myrrh to the infant Christ ; " and " Adam and Eve ex- 
pelled from Paradise." These were succeeded by others 
from Scottish story, — the Bruce as a crowned king, fol- 
lowed by the royal Stewarts. Then twenty-four maidens, 
singing, and with timbrels, met the queen, followed by the 
Barons of the neighbourhood with their ladies. The foun- 
tain at the cross flowed with wine, and a gift was presented 
to her by the town, in the shape of a cup heaped with gold 
coins, before she was conducted to her lodgings. 

^ P. 251. 


With this poem we may compare the panegyric on 
London ab-eady noted, and contrast the satire on Edin- 
burgh addressed to its merchants, and the dirge on Stir- 
ling, when the king stayed too long in that town, on 
a visit to the Franciscan monastery, while Dunbar was in 
Edinburgh ; but these poems belong to an earlier period, 
when James was yet unmarried. The satire on Edinbui^h, 
with its companion poem, " Tidings from the Session," point 
by their allusions to the Daily Council which James IV. 
instituted in 1503, in lieu of the Ambulatory Sessions of 
James I., which sat in the four principal towns of the king- 
dom. Although called the Daily Council, the new Court 
retained also the name of Session, and both names passed 
to its successor, the College of Justice, when founded by 
James V. in 1532, whose senators or judges were commonly 
styled the Lords of Council and Session. This group of 
poems, whatever may be their precise dates, do not afford 
much information as to Dunbar's life, but are good illus- 
trations of his close observation and sharp wit, which spared 
neither the ascetic practices of the monks of Stirling, nor 
the abuses of the courts of law, nor the uncleanliness of 
the streets of the capital. 


The gfreater part of Dunbar's writings between 1500 and 
1 5 13 were occasional poems written to amuse the Court, or 
to please his own humour, by satirising its follies and vices. 
They show his continued attendance on the king or queen's 
person, the favour in which he was held, especially by the 
queen, his constant petitions for salary and for a benefice, 
and his keen sense of the uncertainty of the courtier's life, 


now in now out of favour. The picture they present of 
the Scottish Court of this period is a strange and not a pleas- 
ing one. James, when periodical fits of penitence did not 
occupy him with penance, fasting, and pilgrimages, was a 
merry monarch; and the familiarity an(lS|>arseness of 
some of the scenes Dunbar paints are not m accord with 
the dignity and virtue which become those whose manners 
should be an example to their subjects. To understand 
the freedom of the poet, we must keep in view how closie 
was the contact between royalty and the Court circle, and 
even the people outside of the Court circle. In the small 
palaces, the little towns of Scotland and their narrow 
streets, every incident of Court life became at once a topic 
of gossip and of scandal A large licence of speech was 
allowed even to Churchmen by the manners of the age. 
But while there is much that the moralist must condemn 
in poems such as "The Wowing of the King,"^ "Of a 
Dance in the Quenis Chalmer," ^ and that addressed " To 
the Quene," * they represent more truly than is allowed by 
the conventional manners of modern times the human 
nature which underlies the artificial life of society, and 
enable us to realise better than we could otherwise the 
characters of James, his queen, and their courtiers. Even 
the poems which are the least edifying convey a moral, as 
in the last mentioned : — 

" Thai rf or, all Joung men, I 30U pray, 
Keip 30U fra harlattis nycht and day ; " 

or in "The Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo," whose 
discourse is of a similar character to Chaucer's "Wife of 
Bath," the poet concludes : — 

* P. 136. * P. 199. » p. 203. 


" ^e Auditoris, most honorable, that ens has gevin 
Onto this vncouth aventur, quhilk airly me happinnit ; 
Of ther thre wantoun wiffis, that I haif writtin heir, 
Quhilk wald 3e wail to jour wif, gif 3e suld wed one ?" * 

Perhaps in^D other way, in such a time, were moral 
lessons moiffnkely to reach the ears of those who most 
needed them. 

The poems of this class are, after all, a small part of 
Dunbar's works. It is largely due to him that the period 
of James IV. is the commencement of a fuller knowledge 
of the history of Scotland, during which we can represent 
to ourselves the "form and pressure" of the men and 
events which together make the sum of history, in a manner 
impossible at any earlier time. The general current of our 
history becomes, from other sources, more distinct in this 
reign than in that of the first three Jameses. What Dunbar 
adds are the minute touches which give life and colour to 
the picture. 


The king is of course the central figure. Every trait in 
his variable and inconsistent character finds its poem or 
its line — ^the licentiousness of his youth, his penitence and 
remorse, the desire of novelty and dabbling in science 
which made him the prey of impostors and flatterers; the 
love of amusements of all kinds, from the tournaments of 
knights and contests of poets to card-playing and the jests 
of fools ; and his liberality extended even to unworthy 
objects. Yet Dunbar never seems to have quite lost faith 
in James, and his feeling, even when his satirical shafts fly 
very near the royal person, is that of a dutiful subject wam- 

' P. 47. 

Hi introdCction. 

ing the king against his weaknesses, and remonstrating 
against his vices. He appears to have thought that there 
was an under-current of virtue which, if it could get the 
upper hand, would overpower his faults. In a notable verse, 
evidently written towards the end of the reim, if not, as is 
possible, after its tragic conclusion, he recalls a saying of 
the king, and makes it the burden of one of his refrains : — 

" Gude James the ferd, our nobill king, 
Quhen that he was of Jeiris Jing, 
In sen tens said full subtillie, 
' Do Weill, and sett not by demying, 
For no man sail vndemit be.* " ^ 

The queen, though frequently alluded to, is less distinctly 
portrayed in Dunbar's poems. His praise of her youthful 
beauty in "The Thistle and the Rose," and other poems 
written at the time of her marriage, has been already noted. 
It is evident that the poet stood high in her favour. In a 
poem whose burden is regret that the king was not more 
under her influence, he styles her — 

" My aduocat, bayth fair and sweit. 
The hale reiosing of my spreit, 
Wald speid me in my erandis than ; 
And 3e war anis Johne ^ Thomsounis man." ^ 

But the dance in her chamber, and the conduct of the 
ladies and gentlemen of her Court, glanced at in several of 
his poems, do not give reason for the belief that her influ- 
ence over her husband would, if greater, have been of the 
best kind. 

The Court and courtiers are described rather in general 
terms than by panegyrics or satires of particular persons, for 

* P. 93. 

^ In the proverb, John is supposed to stand for Joan, a lady who ruled her 
« P. 218. 


Dunbar had no patrons but the king and the queen, and 
desired to make no enemies. Its bad as well as its good 
qualities are painted in a series of poems with vivid 
colours, the former most frequently. In his ^ Remonstrance 
to the King " ^ he brings the two sides of the picture to- 
gether. He first draws the portraits of the 

" Mony servitouris, 

And officiaris of dyuers curis ; 

. . . • • 

. all of thair craft cunning. 
And all at anis lawboring, 
Quhilk pleisand ar and honorable ; 
And to ^ur hienes profitable.*' 

But next 


Ane vthir sort, more miserabill, 

• • • • • 

Fen3eouris, fieichouris, and flatteraris ; 
Cryaris, craikaris, and clatteraris ; " 

on whom he exhausts the copious vocabulary of abuse the 
Scottish language supplied, concluding with the naive but 
honest reflection — 

" Had I rewarde amang the laif, 
It wald me sumthing satisfie, 
And less me of my malancolie, 
And gar me mony fait ouerse. 
That now is brayd befoir myn E." 

It is to this "vthir sort, more miserabill," that his verses 
constantly recur, as in the poems beginning 

" Devorit with dreme, devysing in my slummer. 
How that this realme, with nobillis owt of nummer.*' ^ 

" To dwell in court, my freind, gife that thow list. 
For gift of fortoun invy thow no degre." ' 

1 P. 220. » P. 8i. • P. 98. 


" Quhome to sail I complene my wo, 
And kyth my kairis on or mo ? 
I knaw nocht, amang riche nor pure, 
Quha is my freynd, quha is my fo." ^ 

'' Ffredome, honour and nobilnes, 
Meid, manheid, mirth and gentilnes 
Ar now in cowrt reput as vyce ; 
And all for causs of cuvetice." ' 

" Thir ladyis fair. That makis repair. 
And in the court ar kend, 
Thre dayis thair, Thay will do mair, 
Ane mater for till end, 
Than thair gude men Will do in ten." ' 

In the same strain are the poems '*Aganis the Solistaris 
in Court,"* ''Dunbar's Complaint to the King,"*^ and 
"Of the Warldis Instabilite." « 

At times, chiefly when his pension has been paid, his 
mood is happier. Even Court life gives occasion for 
mirth, as in the description of '* the bliss of Edinburgh " to 
which he entreats the king to return from "Striuilling, 
every court-manis fo"^; or he narrates with boisterous 
humour the "Dance in the Quenis Chalmer,"® in which 
he took part; or praises James Doig, the queen's ward- 
roper,® when he had pleased the poet by giving him some 
reward or perquisite ; or makes merry with the black lady, 
the latest novelty of fashionable society, like the lions of 
that society in our day, in the verses " Of ane Blak-Moir," ^® 
or welcomes the Lord Treasurer, who had paid his pension ; " 
or contributes a share to one of the diversions of the Court 
in the " Interlud of the Droichis part of the Play." 12 

* P. 206. 
8 P. 199. 

'' P. 314. 

^ p. 100. 

' P. 158. 

» P. 168. 

* p. 212. 

8 P. 226. 

'P. 113. 

» P. 197. 

10 P. 201. 

" P. 264. 


Occasionally a historical personage or person, whom 
history has allowed to lapse into oblivion, is brought 
before us by Dunbar, but he practises the caution which 
he preaches, and his references are generally either lauda- 
tory or humorous, provoking laughter and not ill-wilL His 
poems on "The Lord of Aubigny'* have been already 
noticed, and those on the Queen - Dowager and Regent 
Albany will be presently. We have seen, too, his gen- 
erous allusions to his brother bards who had died. The 
"Flyting" certainly depicts Walter, and "The Testament" 
Andrew Kennedy, in a less favourable and ludicrous light 
Yet the former receives, in " The Lament for the Makaris," 
the brief but honourable epithet of '* good "; and the Testa- 
ment of Andrew is an evident jeu cC esprit^ painting to the 
life a drunken Bohemian of the time.^ 

Another poet, Mure, who had tampered with Dunbar's 
verses, and pointed them at particular courtiers, is the sub- 
ject of a more severe and caustic '* Complaint to the King." * 

Sir Thomas Norray, the king's fool, has a poem to him- 
self and his order,' which then flourished at the Scotch as 
well as other Courts. Doig, whose name is pronounced in 
Scotch nearly in the same way as " dog," has two poems 
prompted as much apparently by the pleasure of punning 
on it as on his vocation, which gave him charge of the royal 
purse as well as wardrobe. The poems denouncing the 
impostor Abbot of Tungland,^ and Donald Owre, the West 
Highland rebel,'^ are those in which Dunbar really uses the 
strongest but well-deserved invective against individuals. 

> p. 54. * p. 210. » P. 192. 

* p. 139. * p. 19a 




While the Court and its denizens, or the persons brought 
into contact with it, form the most frequent subject of Dun- 
bar's poetic description, his eye was not limited to it, but 
saw the evils of other persons and other scenes. The Law 
Courts are scourged in ''Tidings from the Session"^; those 
of Edinburgh, in the satire on that town;' those of the 
tailors and soutars (shoemakers), in the mock Touma* 
ment,' and the comical ironical palinode which follows, 
under the cover of its title, ''The Amendis made be 
him to the Telgouris and Sowtaris,^ returning to the 
charge; those of the Trades generally, in the Devil's 
inquest ; * those of the Friars, in the poem *• How Dum- 
bar wcs dcsyrd to be ane Freir"* and "The Freiris of 
Bcrwik'*^ (if his composition), and many side shots in 
other poems ; those of the scholars, in " Learning vain 
without guid Lyfc," written at Oxinfurde;® those of the 
female sex, in the "Ballatc against Evil Women**; those 
of all mankind, in "The Dance of the Sevin Deidly 
Synnis.'**® And an in the last, so in the rest of these 
trenchant wilirrj*,— while they have an application ^diich 
suits other time?* and plncrs. there is also an unmistakable 
colour of Dunhar'M own n\\v, alVonlini; illustrations of the 
life of Scotland aw it wan whrn James IV. was king. 

We sec in thi«mHtlon of Dunhai^M works the 
of the society by whli h he \va« •^uirinuukHi. Justice 
not yet pure l)ut venal. The illvei«e niotivcs of the crowd 

•p. 131. M'. jHv -r 44^ *\\ *fKv »M\II7[ 


of suitors and hangers-on at the sittings of the Court are 
laid bare. The trades satirised are those prominent in the 
Edinburgh life of that day. Few poets now would write 
either for or against tailors or shoemakers. Nor is ** The 
Tournament " without a secondary application against the 
knights and nobles, whose favourite pastime looks absurd 
enough when engaged in by common craftsmen. In the 
friars and the scholars, members of his own profession, as 
they were in the cloisters and colleges of post-medieval 
Europe, are branded by his poetic as they were shortly 
after by the prose satire of Erasmus. Following the lead 
of so many monkish writers, he satirises evil women who 
have not only the vices commonly ascribed to their class 
but ''the desaitfull talis" which the Scottish Parliament 
vainly endeavoured to suppress. Even the seven deadly 
sins wear the habits of the time. Pride has his bonnet on 
one side, his flowing hair, and his gown in loose folds to 
the heel, like an ostentatious young courtier of the time. 
The priests who follow Pride have their necks bare and 
shaved. Ire has a train ''in iakkis, and stryppis and 
bonettis of steill," with chain •armour on his legs, as if 
he was a lawless freebooter of the Borders. Envy has 
amongst its retinue the "rownaris of fals lesingis," or 
slanders, whom Dunbar had met at Court No min- 
strels or gleemen played at the " dance in hell " save one 
who gained his heritage by killing a man and entered by 
brieve of right — the writ which, in feudal Scotland as in 
England, then established a claim to succession. The 
concluding stanza, aimed at the Highlanders, whom Dun- 
bar, as a good Lothian man, hated with all his heart, 
describes the devil as so deafened with their clatter in 
Ersche (Irish or Gaelic), that he covered them with smoke 


in the deepest pit in hell, is a touch of local humour which 
relieves the poem of its Dantesque horror. 


It is an agreeable change from these satires to note, 
in illustration of Dunbar's character, his appreciation of 
landscape, the taste for which has been sometimes sup- 
posed to be unknown to our medieval ancestors. But it is 
the quiet and domestic, not the wild and grand aspect of 
nature, which attracts Dunbar, like other poets of his time. 
The ocean is " mirk and moneless " ; the Highland glens are 
" thai deuUy glens." He does not hear the two voices of the 
sea and the mountains, which have spoken to, and through, 
our later poets. The garden scenes in "The Goldyn Targe "^ 
and " The Thistle and the Rose," * the closing lines of " The 
Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo," * have been selected by 
a recent writer, with a true eye and heart for Scottish 
scenery and its reflection in Scottish poetry. The reader 
can find the passages in their proper places, and will not 
regret to compare with the poet's May morning in "The 
Goldyn Targe " Professor Veitch's discriminating note : 
"This description is characterised by an intense sense of 
colour ; — delight in sun-brightness and its reflected splen- 
dour ; in the bowers of the birds apparelled in white and 
red and sweet blooms ; the variously enamelled field ; the 
pearly drops shaking in silver showers ; the gleaming river, 
and the stones by its channel-bed shining clear as stars 
after the dew of the morning. The poet revels not less 
in the joyous resonant notes of the morning birds ; and the 
whole picture is suffused with the predominating emotion 

^ P. I. 2 p. ,83. 3 p, ^5, 


of fresh and exulting joy. . . . Yet it is a generalised 
picture. There are few wholly specific features noted by 
the poet — in such a way, at least, that we can say dis- 
tinctively, — that is a May morning in Scotland, even taking 
our May at its best The garden idea also predominates 
in the scene. There is, however, a fine powerful freedom 
in the picture of the river; and in the reference to 'the 
blomyt medis' with 'the grene rispis and the redis,' we 
have a bit of direct eye-painting." * 

The "Meditatioun in Wyntir"* is cited by the same 
writer as characteristic of our older Scottish poetry, in 
which " winter " is a more frequent and characteristic 
colour of the landscape than glorious, or, as Dunbar calls 
it, "lustie summer." 

Another critic, himself a poet, Alexander Smith, has 
marked the same poems and the same passages with 
notes of admiration: "In his allegorical poems, 'The 
Golden Targe,' 'The Merle and the Nightingale,' 'The 
Thistle and the Rose,' Dunbar's fancy has full scope. As 
all^ories they are perhaps not worth much. . . . But 
in Dunbar, the allegorical machinery is saved from con- 
tempt by colour, poetry, and music. Quick surprises of 
beauty, and a rapid succession of pictures, keep the 
attention awake. Now it is — 

' May, of myrthfull monethis quene, 
Betuix Aprile, and June, her sister schene. 
Within the gardyng walking vp and doun.'^ 

Now — 

' The god of wyndis, Eolus, 
With variand luke, rycht lyke a lord vnstable.'* 

> Veitch, *Thc Feeling for Nature in Scottish Poetry,* voL i. p. 229. 
« P. 233. » P. 4. * P. 5. 



Now the nightingale — 

' Nevir suetar noys wes hard with levand man, 
Na maid this mirry gentill nychtingaill, 
Hir sound went with the rever as it ran, 
Outthrow the fresche and flureist lusty vailL' ' 

And now a spring morning — 

' Full angellike thir birdis sang thair houris 
Within thair courtyns g^ene, in to thair bouris, 
Apparalit quhite and red, wyth blomes suete ; 
Anamalit was the felde wyth all colouris, 
The perly droppis schake in silvir schouris.' " * 

Dunbar is never so bright, never so happy, as when 
listening to the voices of the birds or viewing the colours 
of the flowers. These are the common sounds and sights 
which have delighted the hearts of poets, and to them 
are never commonplace. They requite the poet's love by 
transfusing their healthy and natural sweetness into his 
verses. It is pleasant to know they gave seasons of happi- 
ness to one like Dunbar, whose moods were more often 
melancholy despondency and satire. 


From satire of Court and praise of country alike, Dunbar 
was diverted by the disaster of Flodden, the greatest blow 
Scotland ever suffered. In an evil hour for his country and 
fame, James IV., stung by a series of injuries,— the refusal 
of Henry VIII. to deliver up the bastard Heron, who had 
slain the Scottish Warden of the Marches ; the death of 

1 P. 175. 

2 'Dreamthorp, and other Essays,' by Alexander Smith, p. 82. Even Mr 
Lowell finds «* a few sweet and flowing verses in Dunbar's ' Merle and Nightin- 
gale,' indeed one whole stanza that has always seemed exquisite." 


Andrew Barton, the bold seaman who made reprisals on 
the pirates and merchantmen of Holland, Portugal, and 
England after a manner that savoured itself of piracy ; the 
withholding of the jewels left to Margaret by her father ; 
and the invasion of France,— declared he would take part 
in the defence of his brother and cousin, " the most Chris- 
tian king," and, unless Henry desisted from the invasion of 
France, would wage war against England. Doubtless he 
thought the absence of Henry at the siege of Terrouenne a 
good occasion for this declaration. The old league between 
Scotland and France, of which he was reminded by Anne 
of Brittany's present of a ring^ and a subsidy of gold, also 
weighed against the more recent alliance with England. 
But the reiteration by modem writers of the charge of 
breach of faith, which Skelton put into his verses and 
Holinshed and Hall into their chronicles, is not justified. 

There was as good cause for this as for most wars. The 
peace between England and Scotland had been hollow — 
never well preserved on either border, much less on the 
coast Henry's contemptuous treatment of a former Scot- 
tish herald, whom he refused to receive, determined James 
not to wait for another insult, and before the Islay herald 
returned from France the war had begun and ended — 
Flodden was fought and James slain. 

The Nemesis which pursued the ill-fated monarch is a 
familiar page of Scottish story. It gave a natural subject 
to Skelton's and other English ballads, and a title, though 
no more, to a tragedy of Robert Greene. It has left a 
patriotic and pathetic echo in Scottish minstrelsy in the 
burghers' song^ of Selkirk and Hawick, in the " Flowers of 

^ This ring, as well as the sword and dagger James wore at Flodden, are in 
the Heralds' College, London. 


the Forest," and in * Marmion.* The warning of the beggar 
at Linlithgow Kirk to the king at prayers, told by Tjyndsay 
of Pitscottie, on the authority of Sir David Lyndsay the 
poet ; the summons of Platcock (Pluto, or the devil) at the 
cross of Edinburgh, before the muster on the Borough Muir ; 
the dalliance of the king at Ford with Lady Heron ; the 
rash descent of the Scots from the hill of Flodden to the 
plain of Brankstone, on the banks of the Till, where the 
battle was fought ; the doubt whether the king had fallen, 
caused by his having dressed several men in suits of 
armour like his own, and the sordid fate of his body so 
long unburied, form a series of scenes worthy of a tragedy. 
But Dunbar had not the dramatic faculty, nor would a 
Scottish contemporary have used this occasion for its ex- 
ercise. Like his countrymen, he was probably at first 
stunned by the disaster which cut off the king and his 
young son, the Archbishop of St Andrews, the Bishop of 
the Isles, and two abbots, eleven earls, and fourteen lords, 
besides many knights and gentlemen, and a host of the 
faithful commons. The English chronicler Hall reckoned 
the Scottish loss at 12,000, the English at under 1500, as 
appeared " by the book of wages when the soldiers were 
paid." The number of Scots slain may be exaggerated ; 
but tradition, accumulated from all quarters of the realm, 
leaves no doubt of its enormous proportions. The Doug- 
lases, one of the bravest families of the Border, counted 
their loss at 200. Angus Bell-the-Cat, now infirm with old 
age, after vainly protesting against the ill-timed engage- 
ment, left the field, but two of his sons remained and died on 
it. Scarcely a noble house in Scotland was without the record 
of a death at Flodden. The burghers of the towns — the 
" Flowers of the Forest," as the brave yeomen of Ettrick 


are called in the ballad — the rough-shod Highlanders and 
Islesmen, — ^all shared the common fate, for few prisoners 
were taken. The Flodden wall, which the capital built in 
its alarm — the masses said in so many churches throughout 
the land — ^the succession of the heir to his father's lands 
without payment of relief to the Crown, which had been 
guaranteed by an Act passed just before the battle, — ^kept 
alive the sad memory. Very possibly Dunbar had been 
one of those who had opposed the war. His relations with 
the queen, and the English sympathies of one who deemed 
Chaucer his master and English in its old form his mother 
tongue, make this more probable than a conjecture which 
has been hazarded that he fell at Flodden. This conjec- 
ture is, of course, incompatible with the view of most of 
those who have studied his poems, that many of them 
were written after its date. 



The first poem Dunbar appears to have written after 

Flodden was an address to the young Queen-Dowager, 

still only in her twenty-third year, to " be glaid in hairt and 

expell haviness." ^ The relation of the poet to the queen, 

described in the lines — 

" To quhome I am, and sail ay scherwand be. 

With steidfast hairt, and faythfull trew mening, 
Vnto the deid, without depairting ; 
For quhais saik I sail my pen address 
Sangis to mak for thy reconforting," — 

marks Dunbar as the author, although his name is not 

appended to it 

» P. 3^6. 


His counsel to 

" Faid nocht with weping thy vissage fair of hew " 

was soon taken. In August 1514, before the widow's year 
of mourning was over, Margaret wedded the young Earl of 
Angus, grandson of old Bell-the-Cat, to whom he suc- 
ceeded. His father, like her husband, was one of the 
victims of Flodden. Life continues its strange and devious 
courses, though death gives its warnings with the strongest 
emphasis. Between James Stuart and Margaret Tudor 
there could have been no deep love, for he was a faithless 
husband. The wayward girl, now a headstrong woman, was 
conscious she might follow her own will. But if Dunbar 
had been an ideal character, he would not have so soon for- 
gotten his old master, and sought to encourage his mistress 
to " baneiss all baill, and into bliss abyd." 

Although Dunbar still clung for a little to the gay and 
cheerful view of life natural to his sanguine moods, he was 
too good a patriot to overlook the additional confusion 
which the precipitate marriage of the queen with a subject 
brought upon Scotland. His next poem, " Ane Orisoun — 
quhen the Gouernour past in France," describes the con- 
fusion of 

" This pure realme, in partyis all devydit ; " 

and prays — 

" Lord ! hald thy hand, that strikken hes so soir ; 
Haue of ws pietie, eftir our punytioun ; 
And gif ws grace the [for] to greif no more, 
And gar us mend with penance and contritioun." * 

The Queen-Dowager's marriage had roused the jealousy 
of the Scottish nobility— unwilling to see one of their 

1 p. 236, 11. 33-36. 


order preferred above the rest — ^and alienated Henry VIII. 
who disliked his sister giving her hand to one not of royal 
birth. The party opposed to Angus, at the suggestion of 
Elphinston, Bishop of Aberdeen, and Lord Home, the 
Chamberlain, resolved to summon John, Duke of Albany, 
grandson of James H., to assume the r^ency. In spite of 
Henry VIII/s endeavour to prevent his leaving France, the 
Duke landed at Dumbarton in the middle of August 15 15, 
held a Parliament in Edinburgh by which he was appoint- 
ed governor of the kingdom till the king attained his 
eighteenth year, and forced Mai^ret at Stirling to resign 
the custody of the king and his brother Alexander, Duke 
of Ross, and to fly to England. Albany attempted the 
difficult task of governing Scotland for two years, at first 
with apparent success. He received the submission in turn 
of the Earl of Arran, the representative of the Hamiltons, 
and by his mother a grandson of James 11. ; of Home, 
the Chamberlain, who had suddenly allied himself with 
Angus, his rival on the Borders ; and of Angus himsel£ 
The attempt which Henry VHI. made, at his sister^s 
instigation, to obtain his removal from the regency, roused 
the patriotism of the commons in his favour. But the 
nobles were jealous of Albany as a foreigner. A rebellion 
in the West, headed by Arran, Lennox, and Glencaim, 
had barely been suppressed when Home and his brother, 
aided by several Border barons, entered into intrigues with 
Dacre, the English Warden ; and having imprudently come 
to Edinburgh, they were seized, tried, and convicted for 
treason. De la Bastie, a French knight and friend of 
Albany, was made Warden of the East Border. At a 
Parliament in Edinburgh, Albany was declared the second 
person in the realm, and next heir to the crown — the 


king's young brother, the Duke of Ross, having died. 
The new King of France, Francis L, formed a league 
with Spain against the Emperor Maximilian, and wishing 
to conciliate Henry VIII., refused to ratify the treaty with 
Scotland. Albany determined to go to France to try the 
effect of his personal influence. He had never cared for 
Scotland, where he felt his tenure of office insecure, and 
was glad of an excuse for leaving. It was with difficulty 
he obtained leave of absence for four months, and sailed 
from Dumbarton on 7th June 15 17. 

He was scarce gone when fresh troubles broke out in 
Scotland. The Queen-Dowager returned, and though not 
permitted to take part in the government or resume the 
custody of her son, her presence was a disturbing element. 
In September Hume of Wedderbum met and slew De la 
Bastie at Langton. The perpetrators of this crime, though 
forfeited, were never brought to justice, so powerless or in- 
different was authority. There was also a serious rising in 
the Highlands to support the claim of Macdonald of Loch- 
alsh to the lordship of the Isles. Albany had committed 
the regency during his absence to the Bishops of St An- 
drews and Glasgow, and the Earls of Huntly, Argyle, Angus, 
and Arran. The chief power in this council was disputed 
between Angus, who had the support of England, and 
Arran, whose quarrels at last came to such a pitch that 
their followers fought in the High Street of Edinburgh, 
and Arran was driven from the capital. This affray of 
"Cleanse the Causeway" took place on 30th April 1520. 
Seventy- two of the Hamiltons were left dead on the street 
To add to the turmoil, the Quccn-Dowager quarrelled with 
and was eager for a divorce from Angus, and now used her 
influence to procure the return of Albany. He seemed the 


only man capable of restraining Angus, and through his kin- 
ship with the Pope might aid her in procuring a divorce. He 
did not, however, return till November 1521, when Angus 
at once fled to the Border, and the queen received him so 
kindly that Dacre reported to Henry that they were " over 

It was when, or shortly after, Albany went to France in 
15 17 that the poem called " Ane Orisoun" was written by 
Dunbar; and although Professor Schipper entertains doubts, 
and the poem is anonymous, it seems probable that the 
verses b^inning 

" We Lordis hes cbosin a chiftane mervellus," * 

were also written by him. If so, their date is fixed by the 
lines which follow : — 

" That left hes ws in grit perplexite. 
And him absentis, with wylis cautelus 
3eiris and dayis mo than two or thre." 

More than three years after Albany left would be after 
June 1520, just at the moment when the dissensions be- 
tween the nobles had reached their height, and Margaret, 
Dunbar^s friend and patron, was most anxious for Albany's 
return. Neither of these poems is in Dunbar's best style, 
and the second especially is inferior, both in subject-matter 
and ease of versification. But the sentiments contained in 
such lines as the following — 

*^ Is nane of ws ane vddir settis by, 

Bot laubouris ay for vthiris distructioun ; 

Quhilk is grit plessour to our auld innamy, 

And daly caussis g^t dissentioun ; " — 

" Couatyce ringis into the spiritual! state, 

3amand banifice the quhilk ar now vacand ;** 

* P. 237. 



" Grit wer and wandrecht hes bene ws amang, 

Sen thy depairting, and 3it approchis mair ; 

Thy tardatioun caussis ws to think lang ; " — 

are quite natural to Dunbar. Nor does it seem a sufficient 
reason for the contrary view that he has put them in the 
mouth of the Lords who wished Albany's return, and does 
not speak as usual in his own person. There are other ex- 
amples of this in " The King's Answer to Dunbar's Peti- 
tion," ^ — if, as is deemed almost certain, it was written by 
Dunbar, — and in " The Droichis part of the Play," * an in- 
terlude which is spoken by the Dwarf. If this poem is 
Dunbar's, it is the last to which we can assign a date, and 
it is probable that he did not live long after 1520. 

The reference to him by Lyndsay in the " Testament of 
the Papyngo" appears, by its position in that poem, to 
place his death before that of his contemporary, Gavin 
Douglas, which occurred in 1522. 

" Quho can now the werkis contrefait 
Of Kennedie, with termes aureait, 
Or of Dunbar, quhilk language had at large, 

As may be sene in tyll his * Goldin Targe.* 


Allace ! for one quhilk lampe wes of this land, 
Of eloquence the flowand balmy strand, 
And in our Inglis rethorick, the rose, 
As of rubeis the charbunckle bene chose. 
And, as Phebus dois Cynthia precell, 
So Gawane Dowglas, Byschope of Dunkell, 
Had, quhen he wes in to this land on lyve, 
Abufe vulgare poeitis prerogatyve, 
Boith in pratick and speculatioun." ^ 

But the inference from these lines that Dunbar predeceased 
Douglas is not quite certain, and his closing, as his early 
years, are buried in obscurity. 

^ p. 217. ' P. 314. 3 Lyndsay's Works, ed. Laing, vol. i. p. 62. 



To the period between Flodden and his death may 
probably be assigned most if not all the sacred or relig- 
ious poems, which form a marked and separate section 
of his works. | Jbor thoiigh^'D unbar was capable of such 
various moods that it would be vain to say he might not 
have composed some of them in his youth or middle age, 
they are more like the thoughts of a man whose years were 
declining towards old age. 

In one of these, the hymn on the Passion, he describes 
himself in the opening lines as resident in a cloister, which 
he is not likely to have been after he had quitted the Ob- 
servantines, at any period of his life prior to 1513 : — 

** Amang thir freiris, within ane cloister, 
I enterit in ane oratorie, 
And kneling doun with ane pater noster, 
Befoir the michti king of glorye, 
Having his passioun in memorye." ^ 

It is true that the secular poems which can be certainly 
dated after Flodden are few, and, with a single exception, 
are only attributed to Dunbar by internal evidence. But 
this would be sufficiently accounted for if the poet had then 
occupied himself with the sacred themes which form the 
subject of his hymns. The absence of his name from the 
pension-list, which has been founded on as a proof of his 
death, may be explained either by the loss of the Treas- 
urer's accounts between 15 13 and 15 15, and again from 
1 5 18 to 1522, or, as appears more probable, the real reason 
may be that such pensions depended on the pleasure of the 
king, and were not necessarily continued in a new reign. 

^ P. 239. 


The religious poems of Dunbar either simply teach a 
religious or moral lesson, or relate to certain well-known 
periods of the Christian year, and the religious feelings 
their recurrence evokes in the breast of the pious church- 
man. Both are significant illustrations of his character. 

To the former class belongs a poem of considerable 
leng^th, sometimes called Dunbar's Confession. The words 
added in the Maitland MS., " Heir endis ane Confessioun 
generate compylit be Maister Williame Dumbar^* indicate 
that he intended it for others in like moments, but its tone 
is too personal not to have some reference to his own expe- 
rience, as in the lines which express remorse for his life at 

Court — 

" I knaw me vicious, Lord, and richt culpable. 

In aithis sweiring, leising, and blaspheming. 

Off frustrat speiking in court, in kirk, and table. 

In wordis vyle, in vaneteis expreming, 

Preysing my self, and evill my nichtbouris deming." ^ 

Other poems of the same kind are that " Against Covet- 
ousness," beginning — 

" Man, sen thy lyfe is ay in weir," * 
and ending with the refrain — 

" Thyne awin gude spend quhill thow hes space; " 
that " Of the Changes of Lyfe ; " » that with the burden— 

" Vanitas Vanitatum, et omnia Vanitas ; " * 
the short stanza beginning— 

" Quhat is this lyfe bot ane straucht way to deid ; ** * 
that on Death beginning — 

" Doun by ane rever as I red,"® 

' P. 69, 11. 105.109. « P. 152. » P. 232. 

* P. 244. « p. 250. • P. 305. 


and the poem sometimes called " The Merle and the Night- 
ingale," ^ in which he praises heavenly as compared with 
earthly love, ending with the burden — 


All luve is lost bot vpone God allone." 

Poems such as these cannot be fixed with certainty at any 
period of Dunbar^s life, but are more natural to his closing 
years. They express one side of his nature, the piety 
which became his profession, and in spite of his strong 
bent to a merry life, was never altogether absent from 
his thoughts. The transition from humorous to religious 
poetry has many examples in the history of English poetry, 
of which it is only one of the most conspicuous that the 
author of "John Gilpin " should have been also a writer of 

The other class of Dunbar's religious poems belongs 
with more certainty to his later years. They are all 
in one manner, and without them we should have 
scarcely anything to represent the period from Flodden 
to his death — the last seven years of his life, during which 
it is unlikely one with Dunbar's gift of poetry would have 
been silent, though it was likely that he should change the 
object of his verse. To this class belongs a poem on the 
Nativity, commencing " Rorate Celi desuper," * which has 
been sometimes erroneously attributed to Chaucer, and 
two others on the same theme ; ' that on the Passion ; ^ that 
on Lent, or the Forty Days in the Wilderness;* that on 
the Resurrection ;• and two poems in honour of the Virgin.^ 

> P. 174. « P. 72. ' Pp. 322, 324. * p. 239. 

« p. 280. • P. 154. ' Pp. 269, 272. 



Such is all which^ whether from contemporary records 
or his own poetry, we are able to glean of the life and 
career of Dunbar. No portrait remains, or was probably 
ever painted, of Scotland's first great maker. From some 
allusions by Kennedy in the "Flyting" it is supposed he 
was of short stature ; and we may conjecture, from his dis- 
position and turn of mind, that he had quick observant 
eyes and a mobile restless habit of bpdy, as he sketches 
himself in the " Dance in the Quenis Chalmer " : — 

" On all the flwre thair was nana frackar." ^ 

At a later date his health seems to have given way, 
though, if the conjectures here adopted as to his birth and 
death are correct, he must have lived at least to the age of 
sixty. No chronicler thought it worth while to interrupt 
the narrative of war and feuds to portray, alongside of 
the king, the bishops, and nobles, the poet who began 
the series of original Scottish authors. His predecessors, 
whether in verse or prose, whether they wrote in Latin 
or the vernacular, were narrators or translators merely, 
though an occasional verse of Barbour or Wyntown, Blind 
Harry or Henryson, suggests that in other times they 
might have been original writers. Douglas, while selecting 
Dunbar along with "Great Kennedie" and "Quintyn, 
with ane huttock on his heid," for a place in the Palace of 
Honour, conveys only the meagre information that Dun- 
bar was "yet undeid" when that poem was written in 
1 501 ; and Lyndsay, who as a youth must often have 
seen him at Court, has recorded only his admiration for 

^ P. 200. 


the "language at laige" of the author of "The Goldyn 

Dunbar, though these slight references show that he was 
highly esteemed during his life, has had greater posthumous 
than immediate fame. Lyndsay became more popular 
amongst the people, Douglas amongst the learned. The 
'Wallace' of Blind Harry and the 'Bruce' of Barbour 
appealed more directly to Scottish patriotism. But the 
rarer genius of Dunbar has been disclosed by time. Un- 
fortunately, it has been left to antiquarian research and 
later criticism to endeavour to delineate his life and char- 
acter. Some poets, the facts of whose lives have come 
down to us in fragments, do not ''abide our question," 
and remain, like Shakespeare, all the greater in their 
impersonality. Dunbar belongs to another class of poets 
who are self-conscious, and express themselves in their 
works. So, though his outward man must still remain 
unknown to us, the inner man, his feelings, his thoughts, 
his bearing towards the world in which he lived, and the 
men with whom he came in contact, are not obscure. 

It has been the endeavour of this Memoir to let Dunbar 
as much as possible speak for himself. Like Bums, he 
may be trusted in autobiography, which, though free from 
the dangers of biography, has others of its own. He 
was, like Bums, thoroughly honest, and neither conceals 
weaknesses nor affects virtues. His character was, as 
that of most men, the product of his nature and of the cir- 
cumstances of time and place in which he lived. He was 
not of the exceptional class who control circumstances, 
shape their own course, and mould their lives by force of 
will. His lot was, as regards his position in life, to be de- 
pendent, poor, and fettered by vows with which conscience 


could not, though custom might, dispense. This lot fell 
to a man with an observant eye, a reflective rather than an 
active mind, with the imagination of a realist rather than 
of an idealist, whose piercing glance penetrated but rarely 
soared ; who had not the faculty of seeing and interpreting 
splendid visions, but who could represent vividly all he 
felt and saw. 

The result was a humourist in the older meaning of that 
word — Si man of various moods, now grave, now gay ; some- 
times anxious to please, more often prone to satirise, even 
friends. But beneath the humourist in Dunbar there was 
the moralist always, and at times the preacher. This was 
less from his vocation than from his nature. It was a 
relief in hard outward circumstances, but it was also the 
instinct of his genius, to draw lessons from them for his 
fellow-men and for himself. While his lively fancy was 
ever ready to catch the passing moment, and, "shooting 
folly as it flies," preserve its features in a line, a verse, a 
ballad, his deeper and more permanent character impresses 
itself on his work, and is revealed when we regard it as a 
whole. His poems are a mirror of the times in which he 
lived, and he is himself reflected in the linej 

" Sum man, musand with the wa, 
Luikis as he mycht nocht do with a." ^ 

A proud consciousness of his own powers, which the 
result has justified, sustained him in his isolation : — 

" And thocht that I, amang the laif, 
Vnworthy be ane place to haue, 
Or in thair nummer to be tald, 
Als lang in mynd my wark sail hald ! 

^ " Aganis the Solistaris in Court," p. 206. 


Als haill in everie circumstance. 
In formCy in mater, and substance, 
But wering, or consumptioun, 
Roust, canker, or corruptioun. 
As ony of thair werkis all, 
Suppois that my rewarde be small ! " ^ 

His countrymen no longer need repeat the line of 
Langhome — 

^ And Time still spares the Thistle and the Rose." 

The fame of Dunbar has increased with the centuries, and 
will continue to increase. His name is now securely 
enrolled amongst the best of the early authors of Scotland, 
and in the front ranks of the noble company of the Poets 
of Britain. 

* '' Danbar's Remoostiance to the King," p. 221. 





The poems of Dunbar do not require any elaborate analysis 
of their contents. With the exception of the allegorical 
poemSy of which " Beauty and the Prisoner," " The Goldyn 
Targe," and "The Thistle and the Rose," are the best marked 
specimens — although in others all^orical personages, the 
Seven Deadly Sins, Heaviness, Langour, Reason, Dis- 
cretion, and the like are introduced — their meaning, apart 
from the use of obsolete words, explained in the Glossary, 
is obvious. A prose version of Dunbar^s verse would 
resemble a poor sermon which dilutes the rich text But 
a survey of his poetry is necessary to show the com- 
pass and limits of his genius, and will be given before an 
attempt is made to estimate his relation to the Scottish 
poets who preceded and followed him, and his position 
amongst those who in other countries have secured per- 
manent poetic fame. For he, too, is of the select few who, 
by various routes, coming from distant countries, have 
climbed to the summits of Parnassus. 

The poetry of Dunbar, although the portion of it which 
has been preserved is not large, naturally suggests a classi- 
fication which proves how various were the styles and 
subjects he essayed. As he succeeded in almost all, 
though of some we have only one or two examples, this 
certainly supports the hypothesis that many of his poems 


have been lost, it is to be feared now beyond recoveiy. 
His poems may be divided into — 

1. All^orical Poems. 

2. Narrative Poems or Tales. 

3. Amatory or Love Poems. 

4. Comic or Humorous Poems. 

5. Laudatory Poems or Panegyrics. 

6. Vituperative Poems or Invectives. 

7. Precatory Poems or Petitions to the King or Queen. 

8. Satirical Poems. 

9. Moral Poems. 

la Religious Poems or Hymns. 
They cover, therefore, the whole ground which Bannatyne 
describes in the lines prefixed to his manuscript — 

" The first concemis Godis glor and our salvatioun ; 
The next are moral graces and als besyd it, 
Ground on gude consale ; the thrid, I will not hyd it, 
Are blyth and glad, maid for our consolatioun ; 
The fierd, of luve and thatr rycht reformatioun ; 
The fyft are tailis and storeis weill descydit** 

The above list might be reduced to eight, perhaps seven, 
for the petitions or precatory poems are generally humor- 
ous, and the humorous are separated by a narrow line 
from the satirical and vituperative. Nor is it expected 
that all will agree with the class in which particular poems 
are here placed. Still, the petitions form so marked a 
section that it seems better to regard them as a separate 
class, along with the three poems on " Discretion in Ask- 
ing," " Giving," and " Taking," in which he treats the phil- 
osophy of the subject The line, though narrow, is also 
distinct, and probably corresponds to the period when they 
were written, which separates his poems in which the 



humour is merely comic from those in which it passes 
into all the moods of satire, from the gentlest irony to the 
fiercest indignation or invective. 


The allegories of Dunbar are not, like "The Palace of 
Honour" of his contemporary, Gavin Douglas, or "The 
Faerie Queen " of Spenser, intricate or complex. Abstract 
qualities are made to play the part of persons, and so con- 
vey a moral lesson with more directness, but there is little 
sustained allegory and no obscurity in the plot or scheme 
The of the poem. In " The Goldyn Targe," the subject is the 
StoT*' conflict of Beauty with the poet, or the person in whose 
name the poet speaks. Reason protects him against the 
first assaults of Beauty, and wards ofl* the darts of her com- 
panions by the golden shield. But the near presence of 
the beloved blinds his eyes, and new allies of Beauty 
coming to her aid — Dissimulation, Fair Calling, Cherishing, 
and New Acquaintance — complete the capture of the poet 
or the hero of his poem. It is characteristic of Dunbar's 
reflective and melancholy vein that before the dream (for 
the allegory appears in a dream) melts, the captive has 
been visited by Danger, who consigns him to the custody 
of Heaviness and Grief. Love was not to him the spring 
of life and hope, but of despondency. Its victory was the 
defeat of Reason. As if to save the poem from ending 
with this sad note, Dunbar, like a true artist, adds a stanza 
on the beauty of the landscape when he woke from his 
dream — 

" Throu Naturis nobil fresch anamalyng, 

In mirthfull May, of ewiry moneth Quene ; " 


and an encomium on his English masters, Chaucer, Gower, 
and Lydgate. This passage marks the reverence of Chaucer 
which he shared with all English poets — 

" As in oure tong ane flour imperiall. 

That raise in Britane ewir, quho redis rycht. 
Thou beris of makaris the tryumph rial! ; ** 

the recognition of the common language in which they 
wrote — 

** Was thou noucht of oure Inglisch all the lycht ; 


but also the less fortunate admiration for the new and 
less natural beauties with which the '^sugurit lippis and 
tongis aureate" of Gower and Lydgate had over-gilt the 
simpler speech of Chaucer. Dunbar modestly thought 
his own poem free from all the '* lusty roses of rhetoric " 
which he praised. The taste of modem times will not 
admit this, and finds many of the phrases and parts of 
the all^ory exaggerated, — for modem poetry, as a 
rule, abstains from allegory, which its readers do not easily 
appreciate, and prefers a simple to an ornate style of 

Another variation on the same theme, the short poem of 
^Beauty and the Prisoner," ends more happily, for the "Beauty 
prisoner is delivered from the dungeon in the Castle of ^^5^^^ »» 
Penance by ''Matremony, that nobill king," who unites 
Beauty to the prisoner. Perhaps this poem glances at the 
deliverance of James IV. from the illegitimate connections 
of his youth by his marriage with Margaret Tudor. If so, 
the allusions are possibly on purpose not explicit. What- 
ever may be its tme interpretation, this is one of the few 
compositions of Dunbar which may be deemed somewhat 
obscure. Notwithstanding its obscurity, it appears to have 


been a favourite with his contemporaries, for amongst the 
popular songs given in the list in " The Complaint of Scot- 
land " there is one — " Ladye, help your prisoner," — ^which 
probably refers to it, although Mr Laing at one time con- 
jectured it to have been a poem by Alexander Scott^ 

Professor Schipper is disposed to date **The Goldyn 
Targe " and " Beauty and the Prisoner " somewhat later in 
Dunbar's life than the period before the marriage of the 
king, and, though with some hesitation, to suppose they 
may relate to the poet's personal history. Certainty on 
this point is unattainable. The poems themselves bear no 
internal evidence, either by contents or style, to the time 
of their composition. But they are unlike his other poems 
of a personal kind, and most nearly resemble ** The Thistle 
and the Rose," which was written to celebrate the royal 
marriage. " The Goldyn Targe " was certainly composed 
before 1508, when it was printed by Chepman and Myllar. 
It appears, on the whole, most probable that these all^ori- 
cal poems all belong to the same period, and were veiled 
in allegory for the sake of the king, who might be thus in- 
structed and warned without being too plainly made their 
*'The "The Thistle and the Rose" takes its leading allegory 

'^***J^* from Heraldry, then in its prime. It celebrates the union 
Rose." of the Scottish Thistle with the red and white Rose of 
England, in whose veins flowed the blood of York and 
Lancaster, and proclaims its superiority above the Lily of 
France. It is not known when the thistle was first chosen 
as the meet symbol for the wild country and poor soil 
whose natives proved they could protect its independ- 

1 **The Complaint of Scotland," Early English Text Society,— J. H. A. 
Murray's Prefece, p. Ixxxiii; Laing*s eilition of Scott, p. x. 


ence. It has sometimes been supposed that its use 
originated in this poem, which is one of the earliest notices 
of the thistie.^ But its adoption as the badge of Scotland 
must have been of an earlier date. Amongst the '' jowellis 
and uther stuff pertaining to umquhile oure souirane lordis 
fadir " that came into the hands of James IV. at his father's 
death in 1488, was "a, covering of variand purper tartar 
brawdin with thrisselis and a unicorn^ ^ The ratification 
by James of his contract of marriage with Margaret on 
17th December 1502, has on its wide margin ''a splendid 
border of roses, thisties, and marguerites intertwined. In 
a square compartment azure are the Scottish royal arms 
and crown, supported by two unicorns argent, collared and 
chained, homed and unguled or^ standing on a mount vert, 
with the Scottish thistie flowered ppr. growing on it Fur- 
ther down the mai^n are the letters I. and M. in gold, 
entwined with a love-knot, beneath a jewelled crown." * 

If Dunbar was, as there is reason to believe, connected 
with the secretary's office, through which this and other 
documents with a similar device must have passed, he 
would be familiar with, and may have borrowed this part 
of his allegory from it We have seen, too, that the thistle 
and the rose were interlaced beneath the crown on the 
painted windows of Holyrood when the young bride was 
received there. 

» The portrait of James IV. in Waldegrave's edition of the Scots Acts, 1497, 
and in Johnston's 'Icones Regtun Familiae Stnartorum/ Amstelodami, 1602, is 
marked by the thistle in his hand and the iron belt roond his waist ; but I have 
not been able to discover, in spite of much kind aid, the authority for this portrait 
The thbtle appears in the arms of Scotland in Sir D. Lyndsay's Heraldic 
MS. in the Advocates' Library and in the frontispiece of Bellenden's Boece 
in the reign of James V. 

' Inventory printed in Tytler's * History of Scotland,' voL iL p. 373. 

' ' Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland,' vol. iv. p. 340. 


The poet does not confine his allegory to the heraldic 
suggestion, and proceeds to amplify and interpret The 
king is compared with the Lion, the king of beasts, the 
Eagle, the king of birds, as well as with the Thistle, whose 
bush of spears is crowned with rubies. In the two former 
characters he is exhorted to dispense the law with equal 
hand to the commons and the nobles, the poor and the 
rich ; while in the third he is counselled to be faithful to 
the Rose, and not to stray after the beauty of any other 
flower, whether of the garden or the wild. The garland of 
verse thus intertwines the royal and the domestic virtues. 

The allegories of Dunbar are supposed by Mr Laing 
to have been suggested by the masques or pageants so 
much in fashion in the middle ages, which continued in 
more and more elaborate form until they culminated in those 
of which Ben Jonson was the poet and Inigo Jones the de- 
signer in the reign of James I. of England. They then gave 
way to or were absorbed in the nobler creations of the Shake- 
spearian drama. Such masques were well known in Scot- 
land in the time of James IV. Margaret Tudor was greeted 
with one on her first coming to Edinburgh. Dunbar has 
himself described another in the poem on her entry into 
*Thc Aberdeen. The "Interlud of the Droichis part of the 
^ "^fOi ^^^y»" ^ usually ascribed to him, is the detached portion of 
Play." a composition more resembling a masque than a play in 
the modern sense. It is possible that Dunbar himself may 
have acted as well as written the part of the Dwarf. The 
references in the " Flyting " to his low stature favour this 
suggestion. There would be nothing in the manners of an 
age which permitted the poet, though an ecclesiastic, to 

^ A fuller examination of the poem is made in Appendix V., in the note on 
James IV. 


dance in the queen's chamber, which would have forbidden 
his assuming the rdle of an actor. The most constant per- 
formers in the early masques and plays were the choristers 
of the king's chapel at Stirling or Linlithgow. Sir David 
Lyndsay's " Satire of the Three Estates " was a series of in- 
terludes loosely combined to make a play. But few pieces 
have come down to our time more interesting, as showing 
the transition from the Morality through the Interlude and 
Masque to the Drama, than this fragmentary poem of 
Dunbar. In Scotland the Calvinistic and Puritan character 
of the Reformation prevented the development of the native 
drama, which never passed beyond the stage of Lyndsa3r's 

Professor Schipper ^ advances an opposite theory to that 
of Laing. "The masques," he says, "were developed from 
allegorical poetry, and if, in course of time, the reverse 
might well happen, this is not to be accepted in the case of 
a poem " (" Beauty and the Prisoner ") " whose tone is rather 
lyrical than descriptive." Without entering on the vexed 
question of the priority of origin of the masque and the 
allegory, it seems at least certain that the frequency of 
acted masques made it easier for a poet to introduce alle- 
gorical characters which would be at once understood, 
and not deemed, as they would be now, far-fetched and 

The characters, which are called by the names of abstract 
qualities, appealed to the recollection of those who had seen 
the same or like qualities represented by actual persons on 
the scaffolding or the stage, in the procession or the show. 
The goodly company which attended on "suete woman- 
hede " in " The Goldyn Targe " — 

^ Schipper, p. 186. 


" Nurture and Lawlynes, 
Contenence, Pacience, Gude Fame and Stedfastnes, 

Discretioun, Gentrise, and Considerance, 
Leuefell Company, and Honest Besynes, 

Benigne Luke, Mylde Chere, and Sobimes,** ' — 

required no description, scarcely even an epithet, but at 
once appeared before the mental vision of his contem- 
poraries. This aid to their interpretation they have now 
lost But, after all, every poem has a special meaning 
to the generation for which it is written. Its vitality is 
proved when it has a meaning also for succeeding gen- 


The narrative poems or tales of Dunbar are limited to 
one of certain authorship, " The Tua Mariit Wemen and 
"The the Wedo," and another of uncertain, "The Freiris of 
Berwik." The latter was first attributed to Dunbar by 
Pinkerton, whose view was followed by Ellis. Mr Laing, 
though he declines to give a decided opinion, thinks the 
poem must have been written not later than the minority 
of James V*, and observes that ** Pinkerton's opinion has 
been so far sanctioned by succeeding critics, that the poem 
is almost uniformly quoted as the work of Dunbar." Pro- 
fessor Schipper has, however, made no reference to it in his 
exhaustive work, and apparently treats it as not by Dunbar.* 
It is anonymous in both the Bannatyne and Maitland MSS. 
It was printed at least as early as 1603 by Robert Char- 
teris, in the volume, * Sindric other Dclectabil Discoursis,' 
but no copy is known, although 500 copies existed when 
his will was proved ; and only one copy exists of the 

^ p. 6, U. 163- 167. • 8m * AUtnglbcKc Mctrik/ p. 5Ja 

Freiris of 


edition printed at Aberdeen by Edward Raban for David 
Melville in 1622.^ Allan Ramsay closely followed it in his 
tale of " The Monk and the Miller's Wife." 

There would be nothing remarkable in such a work like 
the "Priests of Peblis," an inferior poem of about the 
same date, being anonymous. Bold as many of Dunbar^s 
poems are in their attacks upon the clerical order, there 
is none, if we except the " Dirge " on the Observantine 
Franciscans of Stirling, so directly pointed at particular 
religious houses in a named place as this is at the 
Black or Jacobyne, and still more strongly against the 
Grey or Franciscan " Freiris of Berwik." That the latter 
should be the main butt of the satire is an axgument in 
favour of Dunbar's authorship. The author, whoever he 
was, would think it prudent to conceal his name. Nor is 
there anything in the tale, which is the common topic of 
the time — a wife deceiving her husband and caught by her 
own trick — ^that might not have been written by the author 
of " The Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo." The clear- 
ness of the description and the ease of versification, though 
extravagantly compared to Chaucer's, certainly prove it to 
have been the work of a good master in this style. There 
is only one other poem by Dunbar in rhymed couplets — the 
short poem " In Praise of Women " ; but it cannot be said 
that this tells against his authorship, so skilful was he in 
using and so fond of trying new metres. It must be deemed 
also of some weight that there is no known poet of the 
period to whom it can be ascribed with so much likelihood. 
Dunbar had been at Berwick, and, by his own confession, 
knew what could be done under the cloak of the Franciscan 
garb as a novice : — 

^ Laing's Notes, p. 379. Edmond's 'Aberdeen Printers,* sud camo 1622. 


" From Berwick to Kalice 
I half in to thy habeit maid gud cheir. 

In freics weid full fairly haif I fleichit 

• ••••• 

Als lang as I did beir the freiris style, 

In me, God wait, wes mony wrink and wyle." ^ 

Without venturing to affirm it, there seems no impro- 
bability that the same bold hand which wrote " The Visita- 
tion of St Francis" should have written "The Freiris of 
Berwik." « 
"ThcTua "The Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo," which is 
Wemen Certainly by Dunbar, is sufficient proof that he could, 
and the when he chose, follow Chaucer, as Chaucer followed the 
writers of the French Lais and the Italian Novels in the 
art, seemingly easy yet really difficult, of telling a simple 
story with simple words so as to maintain the attention of 
readers. What made easier at least a style of poetry 
which, when tried as it has been by modem poets, always 
savours of an imitation, was that telling stories or tales in 
prose or verse was a common custom of the times before 
printing. " It was the usage in Normandy," says Jean le 
Chapelain, "that one who received lodging should tell a 
fable or sing a song to his host" So Dunbar himself 
includes in the motley group of the hangers-on at the 
Court of James IV. some "who tell stories." But even in 
the middle ages there were degrees of skill in the art 
of which Boccaccio and Chaucer are the great masters. 
There were professional as well as amateur story-tellers. 

1 P. 132. 

2 Mr Skelton, I am glad to observe, concurs in this view. " * The Friars of 
Berwick/ an admirably spirited and brilliantly dramatic poem, which I believe 
could have been written by no one except Dunbar."—* Maitland of Lethington,' 
vol. i. p. 114* 


Dunbar has been deemed worthy of a high place amongst 
the former by good judges, even if this poem is the single 
specimen of his power. Its theme is matrimony ; and the 
discourse of the free-living and coarse-thinking women who 
tell in succession their experiences, startles and shocks a 
modem reader by its indecency and immorality. The 
poet, indeed, intends to convey the moral with which he 
ends, that none of them was worthy to be a wife. But all 
had been ; and the widow, like the Wife of Bath in 
Chaucer^s tale, after which and earlier tales this poem is 
in part modelled, had buried more than one husband. It is 
vain to deny that their conversation represents a corrupt 
condition of society and a special depravity in the sex, 
which in better times maintains the standard of purity. 
We are tempted to ask whether the picture is not a carica- 
ture even of the time in which it was written. Like most 
satire, it is highly coloured ; but Dunbar lived in a Court 
which was very far from being an example of virtue in the 
relations of the sexes. Even the clergy, who should have 
denounced such abuses by their lives as well as by their 
preaching, from the Pope in the Vatican to the b^;ging 
friars who found too easy an entry into every home, are 
admitted by the candid Romanist to have been often 
grossly immoral Those who condemn the freedom of the 
satire should recollect that it bore its part in curing the 
moral disease it represented in such plain and ugly colours. 
The Reformation which so soon followed was a reform in 
morals as well as in doctrine. 

This poem was one of Dunbar's early works, as he him- 
self indicates at its close : — 

" 3e Auditoris, most honorable, that eris has gevin 
Onto this vncouth aventur, quhUk airly me kafipinmt; 


Of ther thre wantoun wiffis, that I haif writtin heir, 
Quhilk wald Je waill to )our wif, gif Je suld wed one ?** 

It is remarkable as his only long poem, and also his only 
poem in which he has throughout followed the alliterative 
system of the older poetry. Professor Schipper,^ in order 
to find a parallel to the elaborateness of its alliteration, 
which, not content with pursuing the same letter through 
one, often continues it through a second or more verses, 
has to go back to the " Mort Arthur," * a work of the last 
half of the fourteenth century. He notes in both poems 
the heaping or accumulation of alliteration through many 
verses, the occurrence of lines without alliteration but with 
a word which carries it on from the preceding or into the 
following line, and of lines in which the alliterative syllable 
is not accentuated. Both poems are in the Northern Eng- 
lish or Old Scottish form of alliteration, which maintained 
in its verse as in its dialect more of the archaic style 
common to Anglo-Saxon, Old German, and Scandinavian 
poetry longer than the Southern English, which from the 
time of Chaucer became the classical dialect of England. 
That poet seldom uses alliteration. As contrasted with 
the North Country " famed for song," the South preferred 
rhyme, or even plain prose. Chaucer's Parson says in the 
Prologue to his Tale : — 

" But trosteth wel I am a sothem man, 
I cannot geste rom ram ruf by my letter, 
And God wote rime hold I but litel bettir. 
And therefore if you list I wil not glose — 
I wil you tel a litel tale in prose." ' 

With Dunbar's " Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo " 

^ ' Altenglische Metrik,* pp. 196, 209. 

3 Early English Text Society, No. 8. 

' 'Canterbury Tales,' Moxon's edition, p. 147. 


the use of strict alliteration also disappeared from Scottish 
poetry, though he employs it in combination with rhyme 
in the " Flyting," the " Ballad of Kynd Kittok," and in 
several other poems. Traces of it are still to be found in 
the Prologues to Gavin Douglas's "iEneid," Montgomery's 
*' Cherrie and the Slae," and in other poems of the sixteenth 
century. The poets of later centuries have not resisted 
the occasional use of ^ apt alliteration's artful aid " ; but 
this is something quite distinct from its use as a system of 
versification subject to fixed rules. 

That Dunbar should have preferred rhyme, and the varied 
forms of rhymed verse used by the French and English 
writers of the Renaissance, marks him as a poet of a more 
modem school than most of his predecessors. Allitera- 
tion was even with him a recurrence to, and imitation 
of, an older type. The masters of rhythm in all periods 
have been fond of experiments in archaic or foreign forms. 
Rhyme itself is perhaps a development of alliteration, 
transferring the recurrence of similar sounds from the be- 
ginning or middle of the verse or line to its close. In 
Dunbar's poems, many of which have intermediate as well 
as final rhymes, we detect this development in the process 
of growth. Nor does it affect this observation if, as is 
probable, he may have been indebted to the examples of 
the use of rhyme to be found in medieval Latin poetry. 


The amatory poems of Dunbar form a small part of his 
known writings. It might be thought that one who had 
served a novitiate as a friar and became a priest was little 
likely to write love-poems, and that one of the chief, if not 


the chief, source of poetry was out of his reach. Yet this 
was not altogether the case, according to the manners of 
the time. He had renounced the vocation of a friar, and 
as a secular priest without a cure, although he occasionally 
said mass, he occupied during most of his life a position 
similar to the French abb6 of the eighteenth century, who 
took his share in all the pursuits and amusements of the 
Court. Still the irrevocable vows had been taken, and 
human love could not be to him what it was to the lay- 
man, a path of honour which led to happiness. He knew 
well how to describe its virtue : — 

'* Lufe ^ is causs of honour ay, 
Luve makis cowardis manheid to purchass, 
Luve makis knychtis hardy at assey, 
Luve makis wrechis full of lergeness, 
Luve makis sueir folkis full of bissiness, 
Luve makis sluggirdis fresche and weill besene, 
Luve changis vyce in vertewis nobilness." ^ 

But his personal experience was of its bitter, not of its 
sweet, — at first of a passion which was not and could not 
be rightfully returned, and finally, as one which should be 
renounced for the divine love : — 

" Than said the merle, * Myn errour I confess ; 

• • • • • • • 

All lufe is lost bot vpone God allone.' " 

The conjecture that there was any real aflfection on his 
part for Mrs Musgrave, an English lady of the queen's 
suite, rests solely on the line in the " Dance in the Quenis 
Chalmer" — 

" For luff of Mwsgraeffe, men tellis me." 

* Love is spelt in three ways by Dunbar — ** lufe," **luve," and " luff,** — a 
characteristic example of the uncertainty of the art of spelling before printing. 
2 P. 177. 


But the comic exaggeration of that poem, as well as the 
coarseness of some of its expressions, render it impossible 
that it can have been the medium for declaring a true 
passion. It is only a courtier^s homage of admiration for 
one of the beauties of the Court circle. 

The two poems ^ which really are love-poems are in a "To a 
very different strain, acting on the maxim of a poem attrib- ^^^ 
uted to him.' They do not name the lady to whom they a Ladye 
are addressed :— ^^^ 

" Gif }e wald lufe and luvit be, *^*' 

In mynd keip weill thir thingis thre. 
And sadly in thy breist imprent ; 
Be secreit, trew, and pacient" 

This is so similar in tone to one of his acknowledged 
poems,' as to leave little doubt as to its authorship. In the 
latter he repeats the same counsel, with a personal note : — 

" Be of )our lufe noprechour as afretr^ 
Be secreit, trew, incressing of )our name.*' 

These genuine love-poems speak of a love which was not 
requited, by a lady * in whose garden were fresh flowers of 
every hue, only no ** rew," — ^who was merciless and without 
womanly pity, yet whom Dunbar, in spite of all, would re- 
member till death, but from whom he takes a sorrowful 
farewell: — 

" And quhill my mynd may think, and towng may steir ; 
And syne. Fair weill, my hartis Ladie deir ! " ^ 

The former poem is somewhat artificial, but the latter is 
in the language of the heart They are evidently written 
to the same person, and about the same time ; and though, 

^ " To a Ladye," p. 223, and " To a Ladye quhone he list to feyne," p. 245. 
» P. 31a. ' P. 162. * P. 223. » P. 246. 



following the usual view, they have been placed in the 
list of his poems after I503> it is not impossible they be- 
long to an earlier period This incident in his life being 
past of which we know so little that we cannot be sure that 
what has been just said may not be too much, all Dunbar's 
references to love are those of a moralist or a religious poet 
In the poem with the refrain — 

" Now cumis aige quhair Jewth hes bene, 
And trew luve rysis fro the splene ; " ^ 

he writes : — 

" I half experience by my sell ; 
In luvis court anis did I dwell, 
Bot quhair I of a joy cowth tell, 

I culd of truble tell fyftene. 

• •••■■ 

Befoir quhair I durst nocht for schame 
My lufe discure, nor tell hir name ; 
Now think I wirschep wer and fame, 
To all the warld that it war sene,** 

The true love is, as in " The Merle and the Nichtingale," 
the love of God. 

So in another of the poems, with good reason attributed 
to him — 

" Fane wald I luve, bot quhair abowt ? " » 

he concludes with the counsel : — 

" Bot quha perfytly wald imprent, 
Sowld fynd his luve moist permanent, 

Luve God, thy prince, and freind, all thre ; 
Treit weill thy self, and stand content. 

And latt all vthir luvaris be." 

If in "The Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo," and 
the "Ballate against evil Women," ^ he had exposed the 
1 P. 179. ' P- 308. 5 p. 266. 


weakness and wickedness to which the sex may fall, he 

makes amends in the poem " In Prays of Woman," ^ in " in Piays 

which he strikes a note at once human and religious : — 

of Wo- 

" Now of wemen this I say for me, 
Off erthly thingis nane may bettir be ; 
They suld half wirschep and g^t honoring 
Off men, aboif all vthir erthly thing ; ** 

for we are all come of women (such is his brief argument), 
and Christ Himself was the son of Mary. 


The merely comic or humorous poems form a large and 
important class of Dunbar's works. It contains some poems 
— "The Wowing of the King quhen he wes in Dunferme- "The 
ling," " Ane Brash of Wowing," "The Twa Cummeris," the JJ^'Sj? 
verses "To the Queue" on her courtiers, and the "Dance "Anc 
in the Quenis Chalmer " — ^which cannot be reconciled with lowing," 
the modem sense of what is becoming. Opinions will differ "The 
whether such subjects as they treat with the utmost freedom mens." 
can be treated without danger to morality. 

Yet, with the exception of the first and last of these, in 
which it would be difficult to suppose any motive other 
than to provoke loud and coarse laughter, the verdict of 
Professor Schipper on one of them may be accepted: 
"Without doubt, Dunbar had the best intention in these 
verses, and certainly does not deserve on their account the 
reproach of immorality. The poem is no more than an 
illustration, drawn with firm pencil-strokes, of the rude 
manner and modes of speech of <a society which, in spite 
of the beginning of the refinement of the Renaissance, was 

* P. 170. 



Still, even in the highest classes, quite unpolished."^ It 
may be doubted whether the Renaissance itself, by the 
revived study of the Greek and Roman classics, did not 
retard instead of furthering the prc^ess of refinement in 
morals, and that part of manners which relates to morals. 
Two other poems of the humorous kind, " The Ballad of 
Kynd Kittok" and "The Dirge," have been censured for 
a somewhat different reason, that they deal too freely with 
religious names and subjects, bringing them into irreverent 
and dangerous proximity with ludicrous ideas. The same 
criticism is applicable to "The Testament of Mr Andro 
Kennedy," and isolated passages in other poems. Against 
this chaise it is impossible wholly to defend Dunbar, though 
many examples of a similar kind might be cited from other 
poets. Probably his own contemporaries would not have 
seen anything to blame in' this freedom, which was, perhaps, 
taken more by monkish and clerical writers than by others. 
But its use has not been confined to any one class. It is, 
in truth, due to the near connection, in spite of or because 
of, their contrast between the solemn and the ludicrous. 
•'The "The Ballad of Kynd Kittok"* is amongst the pieces 

Ballad of printed by Chepman and Myllar in 1508, but as Dunbar's 


Kittok.'' name is not attached to it, we cannot be quite sure that he 

is the author. If he is, it is certainly one of his early works, 

and the reference to Falkland Fells points to a date when the 

king was there, perhaps to August and September 1495.' 

The humour of the piece is directed against some then 

^ Schipper, p. 191. 

* " Kynd Kittok's adventures in heaven is an audadoos conception, which no 
later master of the grotesque — not Bums in * Tarn o* Shanter,' not Byron in 
' The Vision of Judgment,' not Goethe in the ' Faust * Prologue — has contrived 
to surpass." — Skelton, ' Maitland of Lethington,* vol i p. 109. 

' ' Registrum Magni Sigilli,' Nos. 227 and 3. 


well-known, now undiscoverable, person, a female tavemer, 
who is ironically reported to have "died of thirst, and made 
a good end." She eluded St Peter, and got privily into 
heaven, where she stayed seven years as " Our Lady's hen- 
wife " ; but in an evil hour, longing for fresh drink, as the ale 
of heaven was sour, she went out, was refused readmittance 
by St Peter, and returned to her own alehouse. The poet, 
who had a liking for good ale, ends with the comic request — 

" Frendis, I pray you hertfuUy, 
Gif ^ be thristy or dry, 
Drink with my Guddame, as ^ ga by, 
Anys for my saik.'* 

Perhaps there is a side hit here at the ale of Falkland, which 

was not in good repute. Sir David Lyndsay, too, has a 

jest at it: — 

" Court men to cum to thee thay stand gret awe, 
Sayand thy burgh bene, of all burrows, baill. 
Because in thee they never gat gude aill." 

The charter of erection of Falkland as a royal burgh in 
1458 states in its preamble the resort of the lieges to the 
Court, and the great inconvenience from the want of inn- 
keepers. To remedy this, a series of small feus of tofts 
and crofts were granted by the king, with a reddendo that 
the feuars were to maintain so many horses and men — 
'tam in esculentis potulentis et pabulis equorum quam, 
in aliis necessariis." Like other systems of billeting, this 
had apparently not proved successful. 

"The Dirge" or "Dirige" is a parody on a part of the "The 
funeral service of the Roman Church, in which the eighth ^^*'^- 
verse of the Vulgate version of the fifth psalm, " Dirige, 
dominus mens, in conspectu tuo vitam meam," is frequently 
repeated. Hence is derived the English word " dirge " for a 



song of lamentation. Dunbar's poem is the reverse of a 
lamentation. It is an exhortation to the king to come out 
of purgatory, the convent of the Observantines at Stirling, 
where he was staying too long, to the grief of his lords and 
knights, and return to heaven, as Edinburgh, with its amuse- 
ments and merry life, is not with the best taste called. 

The poem must have been written between 1494, when 
James founded this convent, and 1503, for it plainly belongs 
to Dunbar's earliest period and the king's unmarried life. 
Lord Hailes thought its style so irreverent that he did 
not print it ; but Professor Schipper is nearer the mark of 
historic truth when he observes : " The Franciscan monks 
of Stirling, without doubt, received the poem with laughter 
and loud applause, when the king communicated it to them 
in the refectory." 

It is remarkable even amongst the poems of Dunbar for 

the subtle skill with which the poet handles a variety of 

metres, passing from one to another as the subject varies, 

as a musician from' one chord to another of a familiar 


"The "The Testament of Maister Andro Kennedy" is a comic 

^^M^^t"^ will, composed in the name of a member of the family, with 

Andro whom Dunbar seems to have been not on the best of terms. 

Kennedy." ^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^ p^^^ ^j. ^j^^ „ Flyting," Walter— though, by 

an error, the Maitland and Reidpeth MSS. have substituted 
his name — but Andrew, who appears in several entries in 
the Treasurer's accounts in 1 502 and 1 503. From one of 
these it appears he received on 8th September 1 503 a pay- 
ment of twenty shillings for carrying a relic of St Ninian 
to the king at Wigtown. From some of the allusions in the 
poem. Professor Schipper has made the ingenious conjecture 
that Kennedy was one of the quack physicians of that day 


ix^o are satirised in a poem of Henryson,^ and that the 

relic was for the purpose of curing the king in some 

ilhiess. It is more likely, so far as the relic is concerned, 

that it was taken for the purpose of being presented to the 

shrine of the saint at Whithorn. The traits of character 

disclosed in the mock will are those of a drunken scapegrace 

of the time, who might have followed any or no profession. 

This poem has been called '' macaronic," but is not a proper 

specimen of that style, in which vernacular words are given 

Latin terminations, as in Drummond's " Polemo-Middinia." 

It is written in the vernacular, but with lines or words of 

familiar medieval Latin intermixed, as was common in 

many poems of the middle ages. It is found in the 

Coventry Mysteries, and even in early Anglo-Saxon verse, 

as the conclusion of "The Phcenix." But it became still 

more common at a time when Latin was yielding to the 

native dialects as the spoken language of the learned, 

many of whom now knew their Latin badly, like Master 

John Clerk, who receives the malison of Kennedy for 

writing " dentes sine de," — according to Lord Hailes, in a 

prescription which Kennedy charges as being the cause of 

his death — 

" Ipse est causa mortis mee.*' 

The gift to his cousin, William Gray, the Master of St 
Antone, at Leith, of 

" Omnia mea solatia. 
That were but lesingis all et ane,' 

favours Professor Schipper^s view that Andro Kennedy may 
have been, after all, a quack doctor. 
The poem was one of those Chepman and Myllar pub- 

^ Henryson's Poems, Laing's edition, p. 43, "Sum Pnctysb of Medq^ne." 



lished, so must have been written before 1508, and probably 
is one of Dunbar's early works. 

The form of a testament was common in satirical 
poetry, owing to the brilliant use of it by Villon in his 
" Lesser Testament" of 1456, and " Greater Testament" of 
1461. Villon, however, only improved on an earlier tradi- 
tion.^ James VI., in his ' Treatis of Scottis Poesie,' treats 
the testament as so usual a form as to recommend *' for 
tragicall matris, complantis, or testaments^ this kynde of 
verse following, called Troylus verse." 

It gave the opportunity, under the pretence of friendly 
legacies, of satirising the failings or vices of the l^[atees. 
This seems specially to have commended it to Villon and 
Dunbar, though it was sometimes employed without def- 
inite satire, as in Henryson's " Testament of Cresseid," or 
Lyndsay's " Testament of Squire Meldrum." In " Duncan 
Laideus, alias Macgregour's Testament," preserved in the 
blank leaves of the Breadalbane MS.^ of Sir Alexander 
Ha/s " Romance of Alexander," and written in the middle 
of the sixteenth century, there are passages more nearly 
resembling Dunbar's poem, and probably imitated from it 

One of the latest specimens of a poetic testament was the 
"Last Will and Codicil of Robert Fergusson,"* which is 
humorous, but not satirical. 
*ThcTwa The verses on " The Twa Cummeris," beginning 

"«"«•" " Rycht airlie on Ask Weddinsday," * 

is a slighter sketch, but in a similar style to "The Tua 
Mariit Wemen and the Wedo." It brings before us, like 

* Saintsbnry, * French Literature,* p. 79. 

* Innes, * Sketches of Early Scottish History,* p. 355 ei seq, 
' Fcrgusson*s Works, p. 252. * P. 160. 


one of the woodcuts of the Little Masters of Germany or 
an interior by Teniers, two fat wives gossiping over the 
fire, and drinking quarts of wine out of '* ane choppyne 
stowp," to ward off their dread of the Lenten fast "Ane "Ane 

Thrash of 

Brash of Wowing " ^ is ascribed to Clerk in the Bannatyne ^o^^jng - 
MS.» but in the Maitland and Reidpeth MSS. to Dunbar, 
and Mr Laing, though he would have wished, felt unable 
to doubt its authorship. Professor Schipper compares it 
to " The King's Wowing in Dumfermeling/' and it doubtless 
belongs to the same period. It is the coarsest of all his 
works, and seems intended as a tour deforce, bringing into 
the bounds of verse and rhyme the most vulgar and un- 
becoming words which the copious vocabulary of broad 
Scots possessed* 

The other comic or humorous pieces of Dunbar were 
taken from actual scenes in the life of the Court, as 
the "Dance in the Quenis Chalmer" and "The Tuma- 
ment" or " Joustis between the Tailgour and the Sowtar," 
or describe, in ludicrous hyperbolic style, persons like " Sir 
Thomas Norray," the king's chief fool, or "The Black 
Lady " with the thick lips, in whose honour a mock tourna- 
ment was fought The interlude of " The Droichis part 
of the Play" was written expressly for representation. 

Dunbar's description of the ^ Dance in the Quenis The 

"Dance in 

Chalmer " brings too plainly before us the sort of " high- ^^ ^ 
jinks " which diverted the upper cirde of society in those ChalmerJ 
days, and leaves us astonished with the coarse humour 
which passed for wit, and that such unseemly jokes should 
have been thought worthy of being put into a poem. Like 
the verses addressed to the queen, in which he chastises the 
immorality of her courtiers, it is difficult from the subject 

» P. 247. 


and its mode of treatment to believe that it can have been 
written until some years after her marriage. 
"The "The Joustis of the Tailgour and the Sowtar" (or cob- 

^ustis of i^jgj.^ jg jj^ ^ somewhat similar though less coarse vein ; and 

^oorand though represented as a vision of an encounter "in 
^„^^* presens of Mahoun/' it may be a satirical account of an 
actual occurrence, for on 24th October 1502 the Heralds 
received " for their composition of the eschet of the barns 
quhen Cristofer Tailyour fought, £6, 13s. 4d."^ This 
poem is introduced in the Maitland MS. with the first and 
last stanzas of ^ The Dance of the Sevin Deidly Synnis/' 
but it belongs more properly to the humorous than the 
satirical division of Dunbar's poetry. Its object was to 
ridicule trades whose tricks were disliked by the poet, and 
the practice of tournaments. The wits of the Renaissance 
were in all countries engaged in a common warfare against 
the ludicrous side of the medieval chivalry, whose ideal 
and romantic aspects were passing away. Bishop Percy 
indeed claims that the English had been the first to take 
this line. " It does honour," he says, " to the good sense of 
this nation, that while all Europe was captivated with the 
bewitching charms of chivalry and romance, two of our 
writers in the rudest times could see through the false glare 
that surrounded them, and discover whatever was absurd 
in them both. Chaucer wrote his * Rhyme of Sir Topas ' 
in ridicule of the latter; and in the ' Tournament of Tolten- 
ham ' (a ballad written before 1456), we have a burlesque of 
the former." * But if Chaucer struck the first stroke against 
the follies of knight-errantry, the deathblow was delayed 

^ Treasurer's Accounts, 24th October 1502. 

^ Percy's Reliques, BoWs cd., p. 254. See * Early Popular Poetry of Eng- 
and,' vol. iii. p. 82. 


for nearly two centuries^ and Cervantes gave it in the coun- 
try and lang^uage of the Cid. 

Dunbar returned to the attack on the tailors and soutars 
in the palinode which he entitled "The amendis made "The 
be him to the Telgouris and Sowtaris for the Tumament ^ ^i^ 
maid on thame." ^ In this poem, under the pretence Teljouris 

and Sow- 

that an angel had revealed to him that they had been tans." 
transferred to heaven for the miracles they wrought on 
earth in repairing the faults of nature by their "craft 
and grit agilitie/' he ironically ends by declaring — 

" In Hevin Je salbe Sanctis full cleir, 
Thocht Je be knavis in this cuntre : 
Teljouris and Sowtaris, blist be ^e." 

In the verses "Of Sir Thomas Norray," we have a full- "Of Sir 


length portrait of a court fool, drawn with a pen as sharp Nomy." 
as the pencil of Velasquez. Sir Thomas was the chief 
amongst the many fools who amused James IV. and his 
courtiers, and Dunbar takes up his defence against the 
attack of a poet Quintyn ; but whether this is 

'* Quintyne with ane huttock on his heid," * 

who appears in the court of the minstrels in Douglas's 
" Palace of Honour," or a Quintin Schaw mentioned in 
several entries in the Treasurer's Accounts between 6th 
April 1489 and 8th July 1504, or whether both may not be 
the same person, is not certain.' There seems little doubt 
he is the same as 

" My cousing Quintene and my commissar," 

who was the second of Kennedy in his " Flyting " against 
Dunbar. Quintyn had scoffed at Norray as only fit to be 

^ P. 127. ' Laing's 'Memoir of Dunbar,' voL i. p. 19. 

' Ibid., vol. iL pp. 423, 424. 


the knave of Currie, a fool of a lower grade ; and Dunbar, 
after describing his adventures, declares — 

" I cry him Lord of everie fuill, 

That in this reg^oun dwellis ; 
And, verralie, that war gryt rycht : 
For, of anc hy renowned knycht. 
He wantis no thing hot bellis." 

The fools of the middle ages were just beginning to dis- 
appear with the state of society to which they belonged, 
when they were immortalised by the genius of Shakespeare. 
They had a somewhat prolonged existence in the remoter 
parts of Europe, and in Wales and Scotland. The last 
famous court fools in England were Archie Armstrong, 
whom James I. brought with him from Scotland, and his 
successor, Muckle John, in the time of Charles I. After 
the Restoration the professional fool ceased to exist at the 
English Court, and though a very few specimens lingered 
in the private houses of nobles down to last, and one per- 
haps on to the present century, the race was practically 
extinct except in its survival, the clown of the pantomime 
and the circus. 
"The The blackamore lady seems to have been one of the 

Lady »i African girls captured in a Portuguese ship by one of the 
Bartons, and presented to the king, who had them baptised, 
under the names of Elen and Margaret, the king himself 
putting nine shillings into the candle.^ A tournament was 
held in June 1507 in honour of Elen More, or Black Elen, 
and a Scottish champion, styling himself the Savage 
Knight. The king himself sent a cartel or challenge in her 

^ Treasurer's Accounts, June 1507. This curious custom of putting coins into 
the candle — "candela nummata" — offered at a christening, is explained in 
Dickson's Preface to Treasurer's Accounts, p. cclxxvi. 


honour to the Court of France.^ Sir Anthony d'Arcy de la 
Bastie came in answer to this challenge, and was hospitably 
entertained at the Scottish Court The black lady, dressed 
in damask silk, powdered with gold spangles, attended 
by two damsels in g^reen Flemish taffeta, was drawn in 
a chariot through the mimic scene, and received by a 
troop of wild men in goatskins, and with hart's horns.' It 
has been doubted whether Dunbar's verses refer to the 
same sable beauty, because of the opening lines — 

" Lang heff I maid of ladyes quhytt. 
Now of ane blak I will indytt, 
That landet furth of the last schippis"*— 

but this is probably no more than a poetic licence as to time. 
It is very unlikely — ^though no doubt there were others of 
her colour at the Scottish Court, as the Black Maiden who 
waited on the queen in 15 12' — ^that there was any who 
made such a sensation as Black Elen, nor would a tourna- 
ment whose attraction lay in its novelty have been repeated. 
Indeed the lines — 

'* Quhen scho is claid in reche apperrall, 
Scho blinkis als brycht as ane tar barrell ; 

Quhen scho was bom, the sone tholit clippis. 
The nycht hefcdnfaucht in hir querrdl: 
My ladye with the mekle lippis " — 

with those which follow, plainly allude to this mock tour- 
nament, and we may detect a pun in " the [k]nycht " who 
fought for her. Dunbar seized again an opportunity for 
bringing tournaments into ridicule. 

^ This cartel is printed in Michel, ' Les ^cossais en France — Les Fran9ais en 
£cosse,'vol. i. p. 384, from 'La Science Heroiqoe,' chap, xliii., p. 453-457. 
See also ' Le Vray Th^tre d'Honneor,' chap. xx. 

* Tytler's 'Scottish Worthies/ vol. iii. p. 331. 

' Treasurer's Accounts, 2d December 15 12. 



The panegyric or laudatory style, which specially be- 
fitted Dunbar's office of Court poet, was the least congenial 
to a temperament whose tendency was towards comedy 
and satire. But several examples of this style have been 
" lo Praise preserved. The poem, ^ In Praise of London/' was written 
don"° to be recited at the Christmas entertainment the Lord 
Mayor, Sir John Shaw, gave to the Scottish ambassadors 
who went to the English capital in 1501 to negotiate the 
marriage between James IV. and Margaret Tudor. 
The description, like the refrain — 

" London, thou art the flour of Cities all," — 

runs into generalities and superlatives expressed in the 
artificial manner of the age, as in the linef 

" Gemme of all joy, jasper of jocunditie, 

Most myghty carbuncle of vertue and valour ; 
Strong Troy in vigour and in strenuytie ; 
Of royall cities rose and geraflour," — 

where the attempt at alliteration not consistently main- 
tained mars the verse, and introduces far-fetched metaphors. 
We wish there had been more local colour, as in the 
" Satire on Edinburgh," to preserve for us Old London of 
the beginning of the sixteenth century, and less of mythical 
history. Still there are some touches worth recalling. The 
reference to Troy — 

** Gladdith anon thou lusty Troynovaunt, 

Citie that some tyme cleped was New Troy," — 

is an allusion to the fable of Geoffrey of Monmouth to which 
Stowe refers in his Survey: " As the Roman writers, to glorify 
the city of Rome, derive the original thereof from gods and 


demigods by the Trojan prc^eny, so Geoffrey of Mon- 
mouth, the Welsh historian, deduceth the foundation of 
this famous city of London, for the greater glory thereof, 
and exaltation of Rome, from the very same original For 
he reporteth that Brutus, descended from the demigod 
^neas, the son of Venus, daughter of Jupiter, about the 
year of the world 2855 ^^^ '^^S before the nativity of 
Christ, built this city near the river now called Thames, 
and named it Troynovaunt" 

The great river was then, as now, its chief glory, but 
very different then from now : — 

" Under thy lusty walljrs renneth down, 

Where many a swanne doth swymme with wyngis fare ; 
Where many a barge doth saile, and rowe with are." 

John Major, the Scottish historian, who visited London a 
little later than Dunbar, was also struck with the swans of 
the Thames. "There are three or four thousand tame 
swans on it," he says, adding with characteristic caution : 
"But although I have seen many swans there, I did not 
count them. I report what I heard." The shipping he 
describes almost in Dunbar's words : ** There you will see 
ships in abundance which they call barges, going up to 
London and down to the sea-port, not drawn by horses as 
on the Seine, but either by the wind or by the flow and 
ebb of the tide." ^ London Bridge excited the admiration 
both of the poet and the historian. " The town," Major 
notes, " is honoured by a most beautiful bridge, on which 
there are most ornamental houses and a church ; " and 
Dunbar — 

** Upon thy lusty Brigge of pylers white 
Been merchauntis full royall to behold." 

' Aiajor, ' Historia Majoris Britannise,' p. 16. 


Stowe gives many detaib as to this bridge, which re- 
placed an older wooden fabric ''The work, to wit, the 
arches, chapel, and stone bridge, having been thirty-three 
years in building, was in the year 1209 finished by the 
worthy merchants of London, Serle Mercer, William 
Almaine, and Benedict Botewrite. After the finishing of 
the bridge, which was the first building upon these arches, 
sundry houses at times were erected ; ** and he concludes : 
" I affirm that it is a work very rare, having, with the draw- 
bridge, twenty arches made of squared stone, of height 60 
feet and in breadth 30 feet, distant from one another 20 
feet ; upon both sides were houses built, so that it seemeth 
rather a continued street than a bridge." ^ 

The Tower, allied to be founded by Julius Csesar, the 
strong walls, the churches with well-sounding bells, the 
rich merchants, their comely wives and fair daughters, and 
above all — 

'* Thy famous Maire, by pryncely govemaunce. 
With swerd of justice, the rulith prudently. 
No Lord of Parys, Venyce, or Floraunce 
In dignytie or honoure goeth to hym nye," — 

complete Dunbar's picture of London. 

The choice of Venice and Florence as well as Paris for 
this comparison supports the conjecture that he had visited 
Italy, and seen its marvels of art and architecture. It is 
characteristic of what is both a strength and weakness in 
Dunbar's poetry, that he does not hesitate to apply the 
same epithet " lusty," in the sense of beautiful, not strong, 
to London itself, its ladies, its walls, and its bridge. A 
wealth of nouns and a poverty of adjectives, at least of the 
laudatory kind, is a mark of his vigorous style. 

* Stowe's Survey, pp. 10, 1 1 . 


The laudatory and complimentary poems in honour of Poems 
the queen lead us through the different stages of the first ^^ ^^ 
part of her checkered life. Queen. 

** Now fayre, fayrest off every fayre," ^ 

was written to welcome her to Scotland, and probably sung 
at the banquet given at Holyrood on the wedding-day, 8th 
August 1503. 
The one commencing — 

" Gladethe thoue Queyne of Scottis reg^oun,'* 

from the allusion in the lines — 

" Gret Code ws graunt that we have long desirit, 
A plaunt to spring of thi successioun,** — 

seems to have been written some years after — probably, but 
not certainly, before 21st February 1506, when her first 
child was bom.' This boy died when little more than a 
year old, at Stirling, on 17th February 1507; her next 
child, a girl, died soon after her christening in 1508; and a 
third, Arthur, bom at Holyrood in the autumn of 1509, 
died in July 151 1. So it is possible that it was written 
after the latter date, and before the birtli of James V. on 
nth April 15 12. 

Dunbar still remained, after the disaster of Flodden, faith- 
ful to one whom he describes as his " advocate baith fair 
and sweet," and wrote for her recomforting the poem — 

" O lusty flour of zowth, benyng and bricht," — 

encouraging her to 

" Faid nocht with weping thy vissage fair of hew,** — 

to " cast out all cair," and to " dewoyd langour." 
* P. 279. 

» Lesly, History, Bannatyne Club, p. 75. Treasurer's Accounts, 21st Feb. 


This advice was too easily and too soon taken by one 

whose youthful grace and courtesy had deceived the poet 

as to her nature and true character. After her unfortunate 

marriage to the young Earl of Angus he addressed no 

more poems to her. In the ** Orisoun " he prays to Christ 


" Help this pure realme, in partyis all devydit," — 

a catastrophe to which her second marriage had so much 


Ballad and The only Other poems in the laudatory vein, and the 

f^^** best he wrote, were that in praise of Aberdeen and the 

Stewart, ballad on Bernard Stewart, Lord of Aubigny.^ The first 

gives a lively and pleasant picture of the northern city 

on a day of fite. In the ballad he had the grateful duty 

of welcoming in 1 507 to Scotland one of her distinguished 

sons who had gained honour in foreign war — 

" That neuer saw Scot yit indigent nor sory, 

Bot thou did hym suport, with thi g^d deid," — 

too soon to be followed by the elegy on his death. This 
was one of the striking vicissitudes of fate so well fitted 
to confirm Dunbar in the lesson of the uncertainty of life 
and the vanity of earthly things, which became the burden 
of his latest poetry. 


The class of Dunbar's poems which may be called 
vituperative or invective, because they exceed the usual 
bounds even of satire, and attack particular persons or 
classes with the strongest terms of abuse the language 

^ For a fuller account of Aubigny, see Appendix V. 


afforded, form a counterpart of his pan^^cs. It is a 
peculiarity of his manner to deal in extremes of praise and 
blame, and to alternate the one with the other, sometimes 
in lines or stanzas, sometimes in complete poems, as in the 
two poems on James Doig, ''The Tournament against 
the Telgouris and Sowtaris " and ** The Amendis " he after- 
wards made to them, the ''Ballate against evil Women ** 
and the lines " In Prays of Woman." His mind passed 
rapidly from one mood to its opposite, — a tendency of 
which he was himself conscious. 

The group of vituperative poems consists of the singular 
"Flyting" with Kennedy, where the abuse was probably 
chiefly mock, a sort of poetical tournament or contest of 
wit, and a few where the censure was certainly real; the 
poem on Donald Owre, the two ballads against the 
Abbot of Tungland, the "Ballate against evil Women," 
and the poem which has been called "A General Satire," 
beginning — 

** Dcvorit with dreme, devysing in my slummer.*' 

The " Flyting " belongs to a form of poetry of which the The 
literature of almost every nation has examples. The ^^" 
'^ Ibis," in which Ovid, or some other Roman poet, abused 
an unknown rival, was copied from the poem of the same 
name and purpose by Callimachus against his former pupil 
ApoUonius Rhodius. So Poggio wrote invectives against 
Philelfo, in which, after the reproach of his mean birth, 
he accuses him of " fraud, ingratitude, theft, adultery, and 
yet more scandalous crimes." Luigi Pulci, a noble of 
Florence and friend of Lorenzo de Medici, maintained a 
poetical war in a series of sonnets with Matteo Franco, 
a canon of that city, which perhaps is the nearest parallel 


to the work of Dunbar. "It is to be regretted," writes 
Roscoe, in a passage almost every word of which is appli- 
cable to " The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie," " that 
these authors so far exceeded at times the bounds of ci- 
vility and decorum that it is scarcely possible to suggest 
an expression of reproach and resentment which is not to 
be found in their writings. The family name of Pulci 
(Pulex) affords an ample subject for the satirical poems 
of Franco. His person is a theme equally fertile. Famine, 
says his antagonist, was as rationally depicted in his coun- 
tenance as if it had been the work of Giotto. He had 
made an eight days' truce with death, which was on the 
point of expiring, when he would be swept away to Guidecca 
(the lowest pit of Dante's hell), where his brother Luca 
was gone to prepare him a place. Luigi supports this op- 
probrious contest by telling his adversary that he was 
marked at his birth with the sign of the halter instead of 
that of the cross, and by a thousand other imputations of 
which decency forbids a repetition." ^ The " Loki Sennar " 
— Flyting of Loki — with the gods, and other Icelandic 
poems, are Scandinavian examples. The Celtic bards 
were specially fond of this form of satire,* and their 
verses were said ** to blister the face." The same type is 
common in Arabic poetry. A leading example is the " Na- 
raid," or Flyting of Jerir and Al-Farazdar. Jeux Partis and 
Serventois in French literature, which Professor Schipper 
cites, are less apt parallels. Nearer home, Skelton, Dun- 
bar's contemporary, wrote in a similar abusive vein against 
Garnesche. This practice of a duel of railing words may be 
traced back from the artificial works of the poets to one 

^ Roscoe, 'Life of Lorenzo de Medici,' p. 176 : Bohn's edition. 
' The poems of Ian Lorn, or John Macdonald, the poet of Lochaber, and 
Donald Donn, are a good example of one of the Gaelic "Flytings." 


of the natural amusements of the people. Such were the 
Fescennine songs of the Italian husbandmen at vintage or 
harvest when — 

" Versibus altemis opprobria rustica fundit" * 

Such are supposed to have been the waggon-songs of the 
peasants, from which the Greek drama sprang. We might 
pardon the rude stock if it produced in time such rich 
fruit Dunbar has himself left a specimen of a " Flyting " 
between a tailor and a shoemaker, which reminds the 
present writer of a similar contest he saw and heard carried 
on in the kitchen of a village inn of the Dolomite Tyrol 
between the representatives of these trades, who, so far as 
he could follow them, began with verse and certainly ended 
with blows, both in jest and not in earnest 

In the " Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy," and the later 
imitations by James V. and Lyndsay, Montgomery and 
Hume of Polwart, these Court poets preserved all the 
licence and vulgarity of the original " flyting " or scolding 
match. This was partly because the Court and commons 
were much nearer each other in neighbourhood and man- 
ners than in modem times, but chiefly because the poets of 
the age deemed it a triumph of ingenuity to outstrip their 
rustic rivals in their own style. The testimony of con- 
temporaries of the Italian poet Puld is, that the abuse 
poets flung at each other did not necessarily disturb their 
good-fellowship. It was mere afiected anger and invented 
invective, as to-day in Parliament or at the Bar sharp words 
are exchanged and forgotten. The preface to Montgomery's 
" Flyting " expressly states this : — 

<< No cankering envy, malice, nor despite, 
Stirred up these men so eagerly to flyte, 

^ Hoiaoe, Epist, II. i 146. 


But generous emulation : so in plays 
Best actors flyte and raile." * 

So common had this style become, that James VI., in 
his " Reulis and Cautelis of Scottis Poesie," * prescribes 
for it a particular kind of verse called " Rouncefallis or 
Tumbling verse/' and selects as his example one of the 
stanzas of Montgomery's " Flyting." ' Puttenham, writing 
in 1589, describes "a certaine auncient forme of poesie by 
which men did use to reproche their enemies/' but discoun- 
tenances it "We Christianes are/' he says, "forbidden 
to use such uncharitable fashions, and willed to refer all 
our revenges to God alone." Modem poets have taken to 
lauding instead of abusing each other. Byron was perhaps 
the last of the " flyters." 

We know too little of Kennedy to be sure how he bore 
Dunbar's attack ; but the lines in the " Lament for the 

Makaris " — 

" Gud Maister Walter Kennedy, 
In poynt of dede lyis veraly, 
Gret reuth it wer that so suld be," — 

show that Dunbar felt no lasting enmity to one who was, 
besides his part in the " Flyting/' his chief contemporary 
rival as a poet It would be difficult to decide the question 
humorously put, "which got the war" — i.e., worst. Indeed 
so similar is the style of Dunbar and Kennedy's abuse 
of each other, that the whole composition might be almost 
supposed the work of a single author. 

The "Flyting" is one of the most difficult to date of 
Dunbar's poems. Its style points to his earliest manner ; 
but that manner, although chiefly noticeable in poems 
before 1503, had not ceased after that date, as the "Dance 

^ Montgomery's Poems, p. 58. * Ed. Arber, p. 68. ' LI. 174-184. 


in the Quenis Chalmer " shows. The internal evidence has 
been read as indicating two different dates. Laing argues 
from the reference to the Katherine, the ship in which 
Dunbar sailed to France in 1491, and the absence of any 
allusion to Dunbar being in France at a later period of his 
life than probably the year 1497, that it was written between 
1492 and 1497.^ Su^ ^^^ reference does not appear to be 
to a recent event, even although we take the " twenty years " 
of line 452 as an exaggeration. 

On the other hand, Professor Schipper maintains, from 
the allusion to Kennedy in line 154, as possessing the 
''laithly luge that wes the lippir mennis," in a glen, that 
the date must be after 8th December 1 504, when Kennedy 
acquired the house callled Glentigh in Carrick, which had 
been a leper hospital ; while the reference to Sir John Reid 
of Stobo, who died in the first half of 1505, as still living, 
would give that year as the latest possible date. On the 
whole, the latter view is the more probable ; and though we 
have no recorded evidence in support of it, there is nothing 
improbable in the supposition that Dunbar, in one of the 
many voyages he refers to as made in the service of the 
king, again visited France after 1497. There is, unfortun- 
ately, no distinct information as to the date of Kennedy^s 
death ; but the lines in the " Lament for the Makaris " — 

" Gud Maister Walter Kennedy, 
In poynt ofdede lyis vcraly," — 

make it probable that he survived till 1507, possibly to 
1508, the year when that poem was published. 

This "Flyting" will always be one of the curiosities of 
literature. It contributes more than any other poem to the 

^ Laing, p. 49(>- 

cxwr ijrTROWTcnojr, 

Uognfhy of Donbar. It lias, too, die dubious hooour of 
being the best rq>reseiitatiire of a bad style of poem wbidi 
no one can wish to see revived. 
''f4MMph The Epftai^ of Donald Owre is probably die first in 
^^^^^^ date of Dunbar^s vituperative poems, where there is no 
doubt the attack is reaL This and the other poems here 
claMed u» vituperative might by some be deemed only a 
form of satire, but in satire proper there is usually mingled 
ntmte sarcastic or ironical praise. Satire, too, has gener- 
ally a ludicrous element in its description. These points 
distinguish it from the vituperative poem. The epigram 
difTers not only on account of its brevity, but also 
because, though generally, it is not always satirical. Our 
language has no common word to contrast with the pane- 
gyric or laudatoty poem, like the German ** Riigegedicht," 
for a composition which is simply damnatory or condemna- 
tory, although some English satirists, notably Churchill, 
have used what is no doubt a special variety of satire. 
The name "Invective" which James I. employs in his 
'Essay on Poetty' would answer well enough, but has 
never become familiar, and is now associated with oratory 
rather than poetry. 

In Donald Owre, the illegitimate son of Angus of the 
Isles, Dunbar saw not merely the rebel the poet of the 
Court was bound to denounce, but a representative of the 
Celtic race, which, as a Saxon bom, he hated It is difficult 
to realise the feeling of the Scottish Lowlander with regaird to 
the Scottish Highlander of this period, but Dunbar's poems 
help us to do so. The independence of Scotland once 
established, and any probable union with England being 
by a royal marriage and on equal terms, the Lowlander 
regarded the Celtic population of the north and west, 


nominally subjects of the same king, with contempt, modi- 
fied by fear. The Gael, or, as they were still called, the 
Ersch or Irish, spoke a different and unintelligible language ; 
had distinct dress, manners, and customs ; did not recog^se 
the same laws ; and belonged — so, at least, thought those 
whose crops they harried and whose cattle they lifted — 
to a lower civilisation. Few of Dunbar's taunts against 
Kennedy are so severe as those in which he glances at 
his Celtic descent Although Kennedy, a native of Ayr- 
shire, belonged to a district firmly annexed to the Scot- 
tish Crown, and wrote in the same language as Dun- 
bar himself, the Lothian bard pours ridicule upon his 
Gaelic pronunciation, his Gaelic dress, the kilt, his rough 
Carrick manners, even the propensity to theft which dis- 
tinguished his Gaelic kinsmen. An English satirist between 
the reigns of James I. and George III. could not be more 
abusive. We are reminded of Churchill's 'Prophecy of 

In the " Dance of the Sevin Deidly Synnis " the devil is 
represented as " sa devit " with the yell of the Highland 
" tarmegantis, with tag and tatter," who — 

" FfuU lowd in Ersche begowth to clatter, 

■ ■...• 

That in the depest pot of hell 
He smorit thame with smvke ; ** 

and with a grim sarcastic touch, " Makfadgane's coronach " 
gathered so great a crowd of his countrymen, that — 

" In Hell grit rowme thay tnke." 

In the Remonstrance to the King against the miserable set 
of scoundrels who thronged the Court, the poet does not 
fail to notice — 


** Innopportotin askaris of Yrland kynd ; 
And meit revaris, lyk out of mynd.** 

The most honourable part of the reign of James IV. was 
between 1493 and 1504, when he was enforcing order 
amongst the wild caterans of the Highlands and the Isles. 
Donald Dubh, called the bastard, but possibly by Celtic 
customary law the Intimate son of Angus, Lord of the 
Isles, had when an infant been carried off about 1480 from 
Isla by the Earl of Athole, and delivered to his hereditary 
foe, the Earl of Argyle, whose enmity would not be lessened 
i( as the Islesmen believed, his mother was Argyle's daugh- 
ter.^ By Argyle he was long kept prisoner in the Castle 
of Inchconnell. In 1494 he had been released, and for 
several years was a royal pensioner. In 1501 he placed 
himself at the head of a rebellion by the Island and 
western clans, who wasted Badenoch by fire and sword in 
1503. He was forfeited as a traitor, and the whole forces 
of the kingdom north of the Forth and Clyde under Huntly 
had to be called out in 1504. The king himself, with the 
southern vassels, joined Huntly in 1505, and succeeded in 
crushing the rebellion ; Donald Dubh was taken prisoner 
and committed to the Castle of Edinburgh, where he re- 
mained until he escaped a second time nearly forty years 
after, under the regency of Arran.* Such is the account 
of Mr Gregory, the historian of the Western Highlands ; 
and although Tytler supposes Donald Dubh to have died, 
and Donald of the Isles, who again raised a rebellion in 
1 545, to have been a different person, it is probable he 
was the same.^ In his romantic history, rebellion and 
captivity alternated. He is described in the proclamation 

1 Gregory, p. 53. ^ jbid., p. 103. See further, App. V., " Donald Dubh." 

' Gregory, p. 169. 


by Arran and the Privy Council in 1545 as "Donald 
ailing himself of the Isles ; " ^ and after entering into a 
treasonable league with Henry VIII., he passed over to 
Ireland, and died at Drogheda, where he received a splen- 
did fiineraL 

It was probably shortly after 1 506 that Dunbar's poem 
was written, and if Mr Gregory's narrative is correct,* Dun- 
bar was an acute political prophet, for the burden of his 
Epitaph is to show no mercy to treason : — 

" The murtherer ay mvrthour mais, 
And evir quhill he be slane he slais ; 
Wyvis thuss makis mokkis 
Spynnand on rokkis ; 
Ay rynnis the fox 
Quhill he fute hais." 

Apparently Dunbar thought that James IV. had exercised 
an ill-judged leniency in not punishing Donald Owre with 

the axe : — 

" Thocht he remissioun 

Half for prodissioun, 
Schame and susspissioun 
Ay with him dwellis." 

This poem is remarkable for the vigour of the expression 
and the masterly use of a difficult metre, in which the slight 
alliteration of the first two lines is skilfully combined with 
rhymes of the first, second, and sixth, and of the three 
intervening lines — representing, perhaps, by the light-footed 
agility of the verse, the movement of the fox, to which 
Donald Owre is compared 

In John Damian, the French " leich," who rose, by pander- « Ballat 
ing to the king's taste for astrology, necromancy, and other <>^^« ^f^- 

* * Register of Privy Council,' 1545-69, vol. i. p. 4. 

* Gregory, p. 176. 


of Tung, forms of the black art practised in these times, to be Abbot 
of Tungland, Dunbar found another subject for his vitu- 
perative style. This impostor was an example of a com- 
mon phenomenon — ^the promotion of the undeserving to 
high office, while the deserving, the poet himself included, 
were neglected. It is with evident zest that Dunbar has 
put this charlatan of the sixteenth century into the pillory, 
and pelted him with satire. He was a foreigner too, 
which, while it attracted the Court, ever eager for novelty, 
had the contrary effect upon the patriotic Scotchman. The 
principal invective against Damian is "Ane Ballat of 
the Fen^eit Freir of Tungland ; " but Dunbar returns to 
the subject in the vision or dream beginning " Lucina 
schynnyng in silence of the nicht." Bishop Lesly, whose 
account in his History of the failure of Damian's attempt 
to fly from Stirling to France corroborates Dunbar's 
poem, supposes Damian to have been an Italian. Dun- 
bar, whether with any ground of fact or not we cannot 
be sure, describes him as a Turk of Tartary. It is pos- 
sible that he may have been an Eastern adventurer, 
who, like a medium of the 19th century, found his trade 
throve best by slipping from one country to another, 
and keeping as far from home as possible. He came, 
according to Dunbar, to Lombardy, where, to avoid bap- 
tism, he slew " a religious man." The dress of the mur- 
dered man, with his knowledge of reading and writing, 
enabled him to pass for a friar. Such impostor clergy- 
men have been known even in recent times. Probably 
Dunbar's charge of murder is merely satirical. When 
found out in Italy he went to France, where he pretended 
to be a " leich," or physician ; and it is as " the French 
Leich" that he appears in the Accounts of the Scotch 


Treasurer. His practice resulting in the death of his 
patients, he fled from France to Scotland, where he con- 
tinued his disastrous trade : — 

" His practikis nevir war put to preif. 
But suddane deid, or grit mischeif.*' 

He then took part in the blacksmith craft, to gratify, by 
sharing in, one of the king's favourite diversions of " batter- 
ing at the study" or smithy, and pretending, but failing, 
to make the quintessence. To keep the royal favour, he 
next proposed to fly by the aid of feathers to Turkey, 
according to Dunbar, but really it appears to France. His 
misadventures amongst the birds he met in his flight, who 
plucked out his false feathers so that he fell into the mire, 
conclude the poem. In "The Vision," Dunbar imagines ««The 
him to meet, in the course of his flight, a she-dragon, who ^^ 
gave birth to Antichrist He thought it was a dream, 
he ironically adds, until he was told by many ''suthfast 
men " that an abbot would fly into the sky, and he then 
took comfort : — 

" * Adew/ quod I, ' my drery dayis ar done ; 
Ffull Weill I wist to me wald nevir cum thrift, 
Quhill that twa monis wer sene vp in the lift. 
Or quhill ane abbot flew aboif the mone.' " 

This poem, which is not so strictly of the vituperative 
class, may have been written first ; but both belong to 
about the same date, when Damian's attempted flight, in 
October 1507, was in fresh memory. Its failure led to his 
leaving Scotland for five years. Like a bird of ill omen, he 
returned before the year of Flodden, and again gained the 
favour of the credulous king by finding gold at Crawford 

The poem " Against evil Women " was doubted by "Against 

cxx nrrRODucnoN. 

evil Wo- Ij^ing, and has not Dnnbai's name attached in the Reid- 
peth MS.; tMit its style; in ^rite ct Laing's doafat, which 
seems to have been caused by an unwillingness to bdieve 
the poet should have composed so fioce an invective 
against the sex, is in fenrour cS the opinion of Mr Small 
that Dunbar was really the author. Satire on women was 
a favourite topic of the middle ages and the monkish 
writets; and Dunbar was no exception, as the poems of 
*The Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo" and « The Twa 
Cummeris ** prove. It is only against evil women that he 
writes ; and the panegyrical poem " In prays of Woman" 
shows that he was capable of 2^>preciating the virtues of 
the sex. That poem may be considered as a palinode for 
The remaining poem of Dunbar here classed as vituper- 
''A Geo- ative, and called by Laing "A General Satire," is very 
g^^l^if similar in some of its lines to one of Skelton's,^ but was 
the first written; so if there is any direct imitation, 
and not merely similarity of thought producing similarity 
of expression, the English poet must be deemed the 
copyist. This satire, like so many of his others couched 
in the form of a dream, is a bitter invective, in which he 
concentrates his attack against the evils of the time. The 
Maitland MS. attributes it to Sir John Inglis, but the 
Bannatyne MS., which is probably correct, to Dunbar ; for 
Inglis had not, so far as is known, begun to write in 1 504, 
its probable date from the reference to "judges now 
made of late" to the Daily Council instituted in that 
year. The flow of the rhythm and many of the abuses 
denounced being those Dunbar has described elsewhere, 
confirm the opinion that he was the author. Every 

1 "Spdw Fknot,** Slcelton'^ Poems, toL fi. p. 22. 


line stamps its object with the poet's scorn. It deserves 

remark that it is chiefly directed against the nobles, 

the clergy, and the female sex. 

The oppression of the poor is a common topic with 

Dunbar, as with Henryson and Lyndsay ; but it was never 

more powerfully assailed than here, in such lines as the 

following : — 

" Sa mony jugeis and lordis now maid of lait, 
Sa small refugeis the peur man to debait, 
Sa mony estait, for commoun weill sa quhene ; 
Ouir all the gait sa mony thevis sa tait 
Within this land was nevir hard nor sene." 

There is no mincing matters in the condemnation of the 
clergy of all ranks — the proud immoral idle prelates ; the 
rich abbots, strangers to their abbeys ; the priests, dressed 
like lajonen, who never read the Psalms or Testament; 
and the clerks, who had taken the degree of Master of Arts, 
but were after all only fools or " gowks." The extravagant 
dress and morals of the women complete a dark picture 
which concludes 

" Off Sathanis sen^ie syne sic ane vnsall menjie 
Within this land was nevir hard nor sene.** 

The accomplishments of the king and the gallantry and 
splendour of his Court deceived contemporaries, as they 
have deceived historians; but Dunbar's piercing eye saw 
the corruptions which were to lead to the catastrophe of 



The precatory poems, chiefly petitions to James IV. 
or the queen, though one or two are addressed to other 


Pedtioiis, persons — as James Doig, the Keeper of the Wardrobe, 
pUdnts ^^ Lord Treasurer, and the Lords of Exchequer — form 
Remon- a considerable section of Dunbar's works. It was common 
for the bards of this and earlier times to address patrons 
with requests for favours or reward. The "Ballade" had 
indeed, in its original form, a regular envoi addressed to 
the Prince, which was retained in the strict French style 
after its original purpose was almost lost sight of. But 
Dunbar's petitions have the characteristic turn that they 
are in general satirical instead of panegyrical They seek 
to obtain their object by making the person addressed 
repent of his illiberality or fear the wit of the poet 

There is no sycophancy in their tone, which is that of 
a man of genius conscious of his own worth. They are 
indeed styled as often Complaints or Remonstrances as 
Petitions. We follow in this series step by step the poet's 
career at the Court — his first requests merely for the usual 
gratuities of money or livery given at Yule, or some French 
crowns to fill the purse which pricked him by its empti- 
ness ; his thanks to the queen who befriended him, and 
whose influence on her husband he wished greater than it 
was ; his petition for a benefice, and his indignation when 
those in the royal gift were bestowed on flatterers and 
charlatans ; his complaint against Mure, who had made 
some of his satirical poems the means of turning persons of 
influence at the Court against him ; his frequent reminders 
when he grew older of the services he had rendered ; and 
his gratitude to the Lord Treasurer when he received the 
increased pension allowed him in 1510. 
OnDiscre- If the reader finds a painful repetition in this class of 
^°?.^° poem, in spite of the humorous variety in form, he may 
Giving, be sure the poet felt this not less. It required all Dunbar's 


independence of character to preserve his self-respect in the and Tak- 
character of a petitioner. In the triplet of poems on Dis- "** 
cretion in Asking, Giving, and Taking, he embodies his 
mature thoughts on the delicate subject of gifts : — 

" To ask but seniice hurds gude fame ; 
To ask for seniice is not to blame ; 
To serve and leif in beggartie 
To man and maistir is baith schame : 
In asking sowld discretion be." 

" Sum gevis for thank, sum [for] chereitie ; 
Sum gevis money, and sum gevis meit ; 
Sum gevis wordis fair and sle ; 
Giftis fra sum ma na man treit : 
In giving sowld discretioun be.** 

In the poem "On Discretioun in Taking," he recurs 

again to the hard treatment of the poor labourers of the 

ground : — 

" Barronis takis fra the tennentis peure 

All fnict that growis on the feure, 

In mailis and gersomes rasit ouir hie, 

And garris thame beg fra dur to dure. 

Sum takis vthir menis takkis, 

And on the peure oppressioun makkis, 

And nevir remembris that he mon die. 

In taking sowld discretioun be." 

The satirical poems of Dunbar include some of his 

best-known works. The list might be greatly enlarged 

by including those already described as vituperative and 

several here treated as merely humorous or precatory. 

The truth is, except in strictly religious poems, and the few 



which have been classed as laudatory, Dunbar's pen was 
seldom used without some strokes of satire. The claim 
might be made for him that he is the first great satirist in 
our language, for he wrote a century before Donne, and 
more than a century and a half before Dryden.^ 

Confining the term satirical to poems in which pure 
satire predominates throughout, the following belong to 
this class : The three poems relating to Edinburgh, which 
satirise in turn the Law Courts, the Trades and Merchants, 
and the Citizens ; " The Dance of the Sevin Deidly Synnis," 
which might be classed with his invectives but for the 
ludicrous turn given to the concluding verses; the two 
poems against the Solistaris at Court ; the two Dreams or 
Visions — one the Visitation of St Francis, and the other 
in which an all^ory is mingled with his old complaints 
against the bestowal of preferments in the Church; and 
perhaps less strictly the verses on Albany the Governor's 
prolonged absence in France. 
"Tidings The "Tidings from the Session" is directed against the 
SeSon^" Court which sat at Edinburgh, possibly that called the 
Session, though its sittings there were only once a quarter — 
more probably the Daily Council instituted in March 1504. 
This was the first successful attempt to establish a central 
Supreme Court in Scotland, which was succeeded by the 
present Court of Session— a reform of James V. in 1532. 
The name of Session merely means sittings, and was prob- 
ably never dropped, but the eyes of the lieges and of the 
satirist were specially turned to the Court at the time when 
it was first fixed in the capital. A novelty or an inno- 

1 "The satire proper, the following of the great Roman examples in ge- 
nial lashing of vice and folly, can hardly trace itself further back in England 
than George Gascoigne" (1536-77). —Saintsbury, 'Eliiabethan Literature,* 

p. 144. 


vation is always a favourite subject for satire. Neither 
then nor for long after has the Supreme Court been in 
favour with the people generally. Scottish lawyers, 
justly proud of the eminent jurists and judges the Court 
has bred, are apt to forget this, until they are rudely 
reminded of it by their critics and satirists. This un- 
popularity has been partly due to the natural unpleasant- 
ness of lawsuits, their delays, cost, and uncertainty ; but in 
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries there was another 
cause of complaint, now removed, the partiality and venality 
of the Bench. The attempt to establish a permanent Court, 
independent of, and superior to, the Courts of the Barons 
and the Bishops, was in the right direction, but it could 
not at first shake itself free from similar abuses. Bribery is 
fortunately one of the crimes which disappears with and 
proves the progress of morals. But it was not extin- 
guished either in England or Scotland till the close of 
the seventeenth century. Dunbar recognises that many 
of the suitors who attended the Session were knaves who 

" Wald lake full heich war not the Sessioun." 

Indeed his satire is mainly aimed at the litigants, lay and 
clerical, who haunted the Court for other objects than jus- 
tice ; but he denounces also the bribery and favouritism : — 

" Sum speidis, for he in court hes menis ; 
Sum of parcialitie complenis, 
How feid and favour flemis discretioun.** 

The poem is, as Professor Schipper remarks, probably 
incomplete, or there would have been more of the com- 
plaints against the "new made jugis," whom in another 
piece he severely satirises. 


"Satire •* The Satire on the Trades; or, the Devil's Inquest," is 

rat ^liA 

Tiades • directed against the inveterate practice of swearing — each 
or, the trade having its favourite oath, taken most freely to sup- 
qnest" P^^ ^ praise of his goods or handicraft when least 

While the trades are chiefly censured, Dunbar does not 
omit the blasphemous priest who swore by the God whom 
he received at the altar, and the proud courtiers who swore 
by Christ's wounds. The very oaths Dunbar refers to 
were. Lord Hailes points out, forbidden by an Act of the 
Scottish Parliament of 1551.^ Swearing is an eradicable 
vice, depending for its existence on fashion and custom ; 
but in spite of satire and statute, several of the oaths will 
be recognised as surviving in vulgar speech, often in a cor- 
rupt form, down to the present day. 
"Satire on '' The Satire on Edinburgh" chiefly turns on the want of 
f~^ „ cleanliness of its streets, but also on the extortion of its 
merchants and innkeepers, and the neglect of the poor 
which filled it with beggars : — 

" 3our proffeit daylie dois incres, 
3our godlie workis less and les ; 
Through streittis nane may mak progres, 
For cry of cruikit, blind, and lame : 

Think ^e nocht schame, 
That 5e sic substance dois posses, 
And will nocht win ane bettir name ! " 

In reading it, we must recall the Old Town as it was at 
this time, with only two streets, the High Street and Cow- 
gate, ribbed and crossed by narrow wynds and closes ; its 
markets in the open causeway between the Cross near St 
Giles and the Tron ; and its high houses darkened by out- 

* Act, Pari., vol. xi. p. 485. 


side stairSy their small mndows often made smaller by 
crossed wooden bars instead of glass, from which, as poets 
and travellers of a more recent date than Dunbar tell us, 
the refuse of the household was poured, to the danger of 
the passers-by.^ 

Political causes contributed to keep Edinburgh long 
" within its steepy limits pent," and Dunbar's reproach was 
not removed until towards the end of last century and 
during this it burst beyond its barriers, and spread over the 
sloping grounds towards the Firth of Forth on the north 
and the Meadows and Boroughmuir to the south. A poet 
of our time can now celebrate Princes Street, with 

" Its long low lane of stars," 

and look on Old Edinburgh chiefly as a picturesque relic 
Yet it is the old town which contains the Heart of Mid- 
Lothian, the history and the poetry of Scotland. The 
new town, after a hundred years, has as its chief memory 
the poet who was bom in and celebrated the old. 

" The Dance of the Sevin Deidly Synnis " is a masque '* Dance 
seen in a vision, in which each sin appears in succession in ^^ 
all its ghastly horror, made real by traits taken from the Deidly 
men of Dunbar's own time.* It has been, not very aptly, ^^ 
compared to Callot's etchings, and the description in Col- 
lins's " Ode to the Passions," — ^more fitly, to the " Persones 

^ In the ' Proceedings of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries,' 14th June 
1886, ToL viii., N. S., p. 368, there is an interesting sketch oi the north side 
of the Tolbooth and the Lnckenbooths, from a pen-and-ink drawing of the Rev. 
J. Syme, which shows the position of the Stinking Style, and the character of 
the ontside or fore stairs, as they were in Dunbar's time. 

' Yet Mr Lowdl is too fine a critic and writer to see in this poem anything 
more than coarseness. " It would be weU for ns if the sins themselves were 
such wretched bugaboos as he has painted. . . . The uninitiated foreigner puts 
his handkerchief to his nose, wonders, and gets out of the way as soon as he 
dTilly can." 



at Court" 

taris at 

Tale " of Chaucer, which describes in plain prose the same 
sins, their causes and their remedies, and to the all^ory 
of Spenser. But Dunbar's portraiture is, though less 
splendid, more vivid than Spenser's, whose verse is too 
smooth for such a subject. We see Pride, Anger, and 
the rest, not as abstractions, but incarnate ; and it is a relief 
when the scene closes with the Highland pageant sum- 
moned by Macfadyen's coronach, at which, though the 
humour is still grim, some human laughter, and not merely 
the laughter of the devils at the proud priests with which 
the poem opens, is permissible. In the satire on "The 
Ladyis Solistaris at Court," ^ Dunbar takes up again a 
part of the subject which he touched on in the closing 
verses of "The Tidings from the Session." That female 
influence could do more than that of the opposite sex in 
gaining suits was one of the scandals of the time, all the 
greater as the judges were then chiefly of the clerical pro- 
fession.^ The other satire of " Solistaris at Court," * which 
from the similarity of title may be grouped with this, is 
really one of Dunbar's petitions to the king, and describes 
the various arts by which Court favour was obtained. It is 
probably of earlier date, written at a time when Dunbar 
was hopeful his merits would not be neglected: — 

" My sympilnes, amang the laif, 
Wait of na way, sa God me saiff ! 

1 P. i68. 

* The Oracle in ** Ginecocratia," an English comedy quoted by Puttenham, 
may be compared with Dunbar's " Ladyis Solistaris" : — 

" Your best way to worke, and marke my words well, 
Not money ; nor many ! 
Nor any ; bat any ! 
Not we men, but women, beare the bele." 

— • Arte of English Poesy,' p. 147. 

* P. 206. 


Bot, with ane humill cheir and face, 
Referris me to the Kyngis g^ce : 
Me think his gracious countenence 
In riches is my sufficence." 

" The Satire on the Franciscans " ^ is another of the poems The 
couched in the form of a dream, in which a vision of St "Satire on 
Francis appears to the poet, and tries to persuade him to t^« ^lan- 


take the cowL One of its most biting touches is imitated 
by Buchanan in his poem entitled '* SomniunL" 

" In haly legendis haif I hard allevin, 
Ma Sanctis of bischoppis, nor freiris, be sic sevin ; 
Off full few freiris that hes bene Sanctis I reid ; 
Quhairfoir ga bring to me ane bischopis weid, 
Gife evir thow wald my saule gaid vnto Hevin.** 

With great boldness Dunbar, after describing the wiles he 

had practised when a Franciscan novice, concludes his poem 

by declaring that the person who appeared and pressed 

him to postpone no longer taking the full vows of the 

order was not St Francis but a fiend. 

The poem on the absence of Albany in France,^ be- On the ab- 
sence of 
gmmng— ^^^ .^ 

" We Lordis hes chosin a chiftane mervellus, 
That left hes ws in grit perplexite. 
And him absentis, with wylis cautelus 
^iris and da3ris mo than two or thre, 
And nocht intendis the land nor peple se, 
Faltis to correct, nor vicis for to chace ; " — 

has been doubted by Professor Schipper, because it is not 
in Dunbar's usual manner to speak in the person of others. 
But, as has been pointed out, this is not absolutely correct 
Nor indeed would a new variety of style be a conclusive 

1 P. 131. * P. 237. 




argument against the authorship of so versatile a poet. 
The points of the satire — the dissensions of the nobles, the 
covetousness of the spiritual estate yearning for benefices, 
the lack of justice by which the realm was being ruined — 
are natural topics for Dunbar to have selected. It is cer- 
tainly not one of his most powerful poems, but if written 
by him was written in his old age, and on the whole it 
seems probable he was the author. The point is not with- 
out importance as corroborating the ailment that he lived 
after 15 13. Its date must be some time after June 15 17, 
when. Albany left Scotland, probably in 1520, and it forms 
The a sequel to " The Orisoun," ^ written at that date, and un- 
doubtedly by Dunbar. It might be thought a reason 
against his having written it, that Dunbar's sympathies were 
in early life with England, and not with France ; but there 
had been a g^eat change in the situation when Henry VIII. 
succeeded his father on the English throne, and the death 
of James IV., as well as the imprudent second marriage of 
Margaret Tudor, had made many patriotic Scotchmen look 
to the rule of Albany as the best chance of a settled gov- 
ernment during the minority of the young king. This 
hope was disappointed by Albany's predilection for a life 
in France, where his avarice, a quality censured in the 

poem — 

" Absentand the for ony warldly geir " — 

was gratified by gifts of pension and office. 


The next class of Dunbar's poems, in which the moral 
purpose predominates, is the largest and most important 

' P. 235. 


of his works. Perusing them, we feel certain that he 
was not the mere discontented satirist attacking abuses 
because his own ambition was not satisfied, but a genuine 
reformer, sparing neither his own failings and vices nor 
those of any class of his countrymen. 

These also are the plainest of all his poems, and require 
little comment or historical illustration. Their dates do not 
admit of being precisely fixed, but they must have been 
written chiefly during the later period of his life, most of 
them probably between 1 508 and 1 5 1 3, a few possibly after 
that date. 

The deaths of so many of his brother bards, the mortal "Tlie 
illness of his rival Kennedy, and his own sickness, perhaps ^^ Mak-**' 
first brought home to him the lesson of mortality, and led uis-" 
him to take a more serious view of life. " The Lament for 
the Makaris," one of his best poems, written shortly before, 
if not in, the year 1508, enforces this lesson. There is un- 
doubtedly much external likeness to the celebrated Bal- 
lades of Villon, but there is independence, indeed contrast, 
in the treatment by the two poets of the same theme. 
Both show their genius by treating so common a theme in 
simple yet telling words. But Villon chooses as his ex- 
ample the beauties and the heroes of the past, who were 
furthest removed from his own condition. Dunbar com- 
mences with his own sickness, and, after a wider survey of 
all classes and conditions of men, returns to his own class 
in the lines which recite the names of the dead and djring 
poets of Scotland. His refrain, also, is more personal — 

" Timor Mortis conturbat me "— 

than Villon's beautiful but general simile — 

" Ou sont des neiges d'antan ?" 


The moral which Dunbar draws : — 

" Sen for the deid remeid is non, 
Best is that we for dede dispone. 
Eftir our deid that lif may we ; " — 

is absent) — not merely suppressed, but absent from the 
feeling of the French poet. His conclusion is to enjoy the 
present, not to prepare for the future. 

" Mourray-je pas ? Crey, si Dieu plaist ; 
Mais que j'aye faist mes estrennes, 
Honneste mort ne me desplaist" 

" Shall I not die ? Ay, if God wiU ; 
So that of life I have my share, 
An honest death I take not ill." ^ 

It would be difficult to decide which of these celebrated 
poems deserves the palm. But a few lines may be cited 
for comparison, as Dunbar's : — 

'^ That Strang vnmercifull tyrand 
Tak[is] on the moderis breist sowkand 

The bab, full of benig^ite ; 

• • • . • 

He takis the campion in the stour, 
The capitane closit in the tour, 
The lady in hour full of bewte ; " 

and Villon' 

" Ce monde n'est perpetuel, 
Quoy que pense riche pillart ; 
Tous sommes souz le coup mortal, 
Ci comfort prent pauvre viellart." 

" This world is not perpetual, 
Dream the rich robber what he may ; 
To death subjected are we all, 
Old men to heart this comfort lay." 

— Payne's Translation. 

1 (( 

Ballad of Old Time Lords," No. 2 : Payne's Translation, p. 37. 


It must be remembered in fairness that Viiion wrote at 
the age of thirty, while Dunbar was nearly fifty when the 
Lament was written ; and that Villon had drunk more 
freely of the cup of misery than Dunbar had ever done. 

In the two poems "On Deeming"^ and "How sowld I "On 
rewill me, or quhat wyiss,"* Dunbar treats the subject of .._ „ 
the judgment of the world, which finds cause for censure 
however a man may conduct himself, and leaves none 
without blame. He enforces the wholesome moral : — 



Now juge thay me baith guid and ill, 
And I may no man's tung bald still ; 
To do the best my mynd salbe, 
Latt every man say quhat be will. 
The gratious God mot goveme me." 

The reference to the saying of James IV. in the former 

poem — 

" Do Weill, and sett not by demying, 

For no man sail vndemit be," — 

indicates that both of them were written after the king 
had reached mature age, and probably in the latter part 
of his reign, if not after its conclusion. Although couched 
in general terms, and following his favourite method of 
contrasts, we may suspect a personal allusion in the lines — 

" Be I bot littill of stature, 
They call me catyve createure ; " 

though he proceeds — 

" And be I grit of quantetie, 
Thay call me monstrowis of nature.** 

In the lines — 

" And be I omat in my speiche, 
Than Towsy sayis, I am sa streiche, 
I speik not lyk thair houss men3ie,*' — 

* P. 92. 'P. 95. 


he evidently replies to an attack made by some of the 
Scotch poets of the old fashion on his ornate phraseology. 

In another poem that also preaches the duty of self- 
control,^ with the refrain — 

" He rewlis weill, that weill him self can gyd," — 

he applies his philosophy to a courtier's life in a series 

of apothegms which Professor Schipper' has compared 

with those of Shakespeare's Polonius. The resemblance is 

certainly curious, and both poets may have borrowed from 

some older writer, possibly Lydgate's " Rules for preserving 

Health," or the more ancient wisdom of the Proverbs of 

Solomon ; but the proverbs of all nations spring from the 

common ground of human nature, and it is unnecessary to 

presume imitations. 

Thus Dunbar says — 

" Behold and heir, and lat thy tung tak rest, 
In mekle speic[h]e is part of vanitie ; " 

and Polonius — 

" Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice." 

Dunbar — 

" Put not thyne honour into aventeure ; 

Ane freind may be thy fo as fortoun steiris : 

In cumpany cheiss honorable feiris, 

And fra vyle folkis draw the far on syd." 
Polonius — 

" Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, 
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel ; 
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment 
Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware 
Of entrance into a quarrel." 

But Dunbar's counsel is more frank, less tinged with 
courtier's craft, than the worldly wisdom of Polonius. He 
concludes with some fine lines : s — 

1 P. 98. ' Schipper, p. 308. « P. 99. 


" And sen thow seyis mony thingis variand. 
With all thy hart treit bissines and cure ; 
Hald God thy freind, evir stabill be him stand, 
He will the confort in all misaventeur ; 
And be no wayis dispytfull to the peure. 
Nor to no man to wrang at ony tyd : 
Quho so dois this, sicker I zow asseure. 
He rewlis weill, that weill himself can gyd." 

Similar thoughts occur in the "Ballade on Gude Coun- "OnGnde 

scll:"l— CoanscIL- 

" Be Je ane luvar, think Je nocht Je suld 
Be Weill adwysit in Jour goueming?" 

As in the lines — 

" Be now and ay the maistir of jour will. 
Be nevir he that lesing sail proclame ; 
Be nocht of langage quhair je suld be still. 
Be secreit, trew, incressing of Jour name." 

In another series of these moral poems Dunbar ap- 
proaches more nearly to the tone of Villon, and seeks to 
find comfort for the changes of fortune in a merry heart 
and cheerful temper. The poems with the refrains — 

" Without glaidnes availis no tresour ; " ' 

" For to be blyth me think it best ;"*— "Best to 


are examples. But this is a less natural mood for Dunbar, 
from which he rises in the last stanza of the latter poem : — 

" How evir this warld do change and vary 
Lat ws in hairt nevir moir be sary, 
Bot evir be reddy and addrest 
To pass out of this frawdfull fary ; 
For to be blyth me think it best." 

So in the former he expresses his contempt for the 
miser : — 

> P. 162. « P. 108. « p. iia 


" Thow seis thir wrechis sett with sorrow and cair, 
To g^ddir gudis in all thair lyvis space, 
And quhen thair baggis ar fuU thair selfis ar bair. 
And of thair richess hot the keping hess." 

Covetousness and avarice are vices he specially abhors, 

and he directs against them one of his best short pieces, 

"Of Gov- "Of Covettyce/'* which he concludes with lines showing 

'^•" that the merty heart he praised was also a serious and not 

a light one, like that of the French poet : — 

** Man, pleiss thy makar and be mirry, 
And sett not by this warld a chirry ; 
Wirk for the place of paradyce, 
For thairin ringis na covettyce." 

In the same strain is the poem ^ — 

" Man, sen thy lyfe is ay in weir, 
And deid is evir drawand neir, 
The tyme vnsicker and the place ; 
Thyne awin gude spend quhill thow hes space." 

The instability of earthly things, the rapid turns of 
Fortune's wheel, and the certainty of the end of life, are 
never out of Dunbar's thoughts in his latter life. Not 
only his own fate but that of his country taught the 
lesson which he draws in such poems as that "Of the 
" Of the Changes of Lyfe " » or that " Of the Warldis Instabilitie," * 
Changes ^^^ ^^ u season's difference " affords him another text for 

of Lyfe. 

'*Ofthe ^^ same moral in his " Meditatioun in Wyntir."^ There 
Warldis jg beyond doubt a certain monotony in the tone of thought 

itie." which inspires all this class of his poetry that might easily 

become, and perhaps by some will be thought, tedious. But 

it is saved from being really so by the skill of his verse, 

» p. 158. - P. 152. » P. 232. * p. 226. » p. 233. 


which is always pleasant to the ear, and by the fresh turn 
he gives even to such trite topics. 

In a less usual vein is the poem " Of Content/*^ which "Of Con- 
contains the advice more often given than taken: — 


And )e and I, my bredir all, 

That in this lyfe hes lordschip small, 

Lat languour not in ws imprent ; 
Gif we not clym we tak no fall : 

He hes anewch that is content" 

Dunbar himself, it is evident, during the greater part of 
his life, was unable to attain to this content These poems 
are the expressions of the struggles of a mind seeking for, 
but which has not won, that prize; and they were prob- 
ably intended quite as much for himself as for any of his 
brethren. Like the great German poet, he eased his pain 
by verse. 

Towards the end of his life perhaps he reached the calm 
of old age. This seems the most probable explanation of 
the comparative silence of his last years, when he had 
retired from the Court and the world, and occupied his 
thoughts with religious meditations. 

This brings us to the last class of Dunbar's poetry. 


The transition from the moral to the religious or sacred "The 
poetry of Dunbar is marked by " The Merle and the Nycht- jJ^^ 
ingall," ' where the contest and contrast of ** earthly and Nychtin- 
divine love " is the theme, couched, by a favourite device ^^' 
of medieval poets, in a dialogue between the two birds, and 

> P. 23a ' p. 174. 



in several other poems, in which the same air is treated 
with variations, as in the poem with the refrain — 

"All crdly joy retumis in pane ; " * 


" Now cumis aige quhair 3ewth hes bene. 

And trew lufe rysis fro the splene [heart]." * 

The To the same period probably belongs "The Confession," 
f^'^ »t with the refrain — 

" I cry The mercy, and lasar to repent," — 

in which the poet makes an exhaustive declaration of his 
sins, both of commission and omission, and of his belief in 
the Articles of the Creed. 

But most of them were written on occasion of the ser- 
vices of the Church, and form a Christian year of a devout 
Catholic of the sixteenth century. 
Hymns on Thus there are four for Christmas Day,' one for Ash- 
*^*J®***^ Wednesday (Dies Cineris),* and another for Lent ; ^ a 
Christian " Ballat on the Passioun,"^ two on the Resurrection, and 
^*"' two to the Virgin, perhaps for Lady-Day.^ 

The series concludes with two, " On Life " — 

" Quhat is this lyfe hot ane straucht way to deid ? " ® 

and " On the Warldis Vanity," ® beginning — 

" O wreche, be war ! this warld will wend the fro," 

with the refrain— 

" Vanitas Vanitatum, et omnia Vanitas," — 

which Professor Schipper is probably right in supposing 
were amongst Dunbar's last writings. 

1 p. 76. * P. 179. • Pp. 72, 322, 324, and 328. * p. 74. 

* p. 280. « p. 239. ' Pp. 154, 156, 269, 272. 8 p^ 25a » p. 244. 


None of these religious poems, though we may feel cer- 
tain they were written towards the close of his life, can 
be dated with certainty in any one year. They may have 
been written at any moment when pious feeling was pre- 
dominant and demanded the expression which Dunbar, 
more truly religious than if he had assumed the cowl, 
was well able to give. They have been generally thought 
inferior as poetry to his earlier works ; but they are dis- 
tinguished from poems of the same kind by other writers, 
of which there are many specimens in the Bannatyne and 
other MSS., by a directness of expression. There is also 
in several a recurrence to thoughts to be found in Dun- 
bar's other works which convince us they were his, though 
some of them have been doubted. 

Thus in the Christmas Hymn, '' The Sterne is rissin of Christmas 
our Redemptioun," ^ the supremacy of the reign of Christ ^^°'°*" 
above all earthly kings is powerfully described in the 

stanza — 

'' All empriouris, kingis, princis, and preleittis. 
Heir nakit borne, and nvreist vp with noy, 
Leif all jour wofull truble and debaittis. 
Cum, luke on the eteraall King of joy ; 
Ly all on grufe, befoir that hich grand Roy, 
That only King of euery regioun. 
Off Perce, of Ynd, of Egipt, Grece, and Troy." 

In another on the same subject, the lines, '* Jerusalem 

reioss for Joy,"* — 

" The regeand tirrant that in the rang, 
Herod, is exilit," — 

reminds us of the description of Death as 

" The Strang vnmerciful tyrand," 

in the " Lament for the Makaris." 

* P. 328. ' p. 322. 



"Ballat In the " Ballat of Our Lady "^ certainly by Dunbar, in 

^ n which he uses one of the most complex metres, which 

somewhat obscures the sense, the lines 

" Haile, gentill nychttingale ! 
Way stricht, cler dicht, to wilsome wicht. 
That irke bene in travale,** — 

bring befbre us in a vivid image the beautiful bird whose 
clear song and rapid flight guide in the straight way to 
heaven the traveller weary and worn by his earthly journey. 
In the other hymn to the Virgfin, to which Dunbar's 
name is not attached, the lines — 

" The blyssit sydis bair the campioun. 

The quhilk, with mony bludy woundis, in stour, 
Victoriusly discomfeit the dragoun 
That reddy wes his pepill to devour,**' — 

Easter directly recall the h}ann " On the Resurrection " — 


" Done is a battell on the dragon blak, 

Our campioun Chryst confoundit hes his force." ^ 

The most impressive of all these religious poems is that 
** On the Passioun/' ^ in which he describes its details as one 
who had often gazed on the pictures and images in the 
churches, and witnessed plays representing the Passion, 
common in his time in the churches of Scotland, as in 
other countries, and narrates their effect on him, exciting 
first Compassion, next Contrition and Penance for his sins. 
Then once more he is cast down to the ground by the 
thought of Christ's agony on the cross, till Grace comforts 
him with the hope of the Resurrection : — 

" The Lord within thir dayis three 
Sail low under thy lyntell bow, 
And in thy hous sail herbrit be 
Thy blissit Salvatour Jesu." 

1 P. 269. « P. 273. » P. 156. * P. 239. 


Contrition after Confession again fills his heart Con- 
science accuses him of sin, but Repentance and Penance 
prepare the house (an allegory for the soul) for Grace 

divine to keep it 

" In sicker stait. 
Ay reddy till our Salvatour 
Quhill that he come, air or lait" 

He awakes (for this too is a vision), and wrote without 

delay — 

" Quhat me befell, on Gud Friday, 
Befoir the Croce of sweit Jesu." ^ 

We seem to see the penitent prostrate at the foot of the 
cross, raised by divine power revealing to his soul the 
mystery of the death of Christ 



This brief sketch of the more important poems of Dun- 
bar, for the most part in their own words, may serve, it 
is hoped, to indicate the wide range of his subjects and his 
mode of treating them ; to rouse, but not to satisfy the 
reader^s interest Dunbar deab with the lowest earthly pas- 
sions and the highest mysteries of faith ; with the meanest 
incident of the passing hour, which, but for his verse, would 
be forgotten ; and with the eternal verities of love, of life, 
of death, which will be sung as long as there are poets. 
He reflects the history of his age, but also the common 
elements of human nature, which make the universal history 
of man. He represents at different periods of his life 
almost as completely, though in a mode so different from 

* P. 243. 


Shakespeare, not in drama, but in ballad or other short 
poems, life as a whole, not from one but from all sides. 
He represents, too, almost as completely, though in general 
in a manner so different from Chaucer, not by elaborately 
finished portraits, but by sketches of a few lines or words, 
the characters and classes of the time, — princes, nobles, gen- 
tlemen, and burghers, bishops, priests, and friars, physicians 
and patients, judges, lawyers, and suitors, merchants and 
tradesmen, wise men, impostors, and fools, evil and good 

He can tell a story, or paint a scene, or point a satire, or 
chant a hymn, with equal ease, and his versification and 
metre are as varied as his subjects. His moods are so 
changeable that he can recall Horace by his proverbial 
philosophy, Chaucer by his quiet, Rabelais by his boister- 
ous humour, Villon and Heine by his tragic pathos, Spenser 
by his allegory, and Dante by the poignancy of his satire. 
Yet it would be to do him the worst injustice of criticism 
—overpraise — to claim for him so high a place as any of 
these except Villon. He has some well-marked deficiencies. 
It has been justly noted that, with all his skill in rhythm, he 
has not the pure lyric note. He plays with consummate skill 
on the instrument of language, but his music is not vocal, like 
that of the birds, — like that of Burns or of Shelley. He is 
one of the poets of reflection, not one of the poets of pas- 
sion. This deficiency may be partially accounted for by his 
education, his vocation, his constant tendency to moralise ; 
but the want was in his whole nature, and must be acknow- 
ledged. Again, in spite of his familiarity with masques, 
and power of writing dialogue, he is not a dramatic poet. 
His attempt in this line, " The Droichis part of the Play," 
is not one of his most successful efforts, and it is significant 


that he wrote only a single scene in a play, even a ruder 
form of play than those of his successor Lyndsay. There 
is a barrier between the poet who has the dramatic gift and 
the poet who is destitute of it, almost as great as between 
the poet and the prose writer, as two of the great poets of 
our own time have proved by their failures. Excess of 
thought, which Dunbar himself complains of, is fatal to the 
dramatic author. Reflection must with him be subordinate 
to action. The persons of the drama must be, not charac- 
ters, but men and women acting and reacting upon each 
other, as in life. The drama itself must not be merely one 
or many scenes, but a series of actions with a plan or plot 
The dramatist must also know the theatre and have con- 
stantly in view an audience, and the stage, and have as con- 
stantly in view the actors. He is the architect in poetry, 
who has to depend on a number of other workmen besides 
himself, and the art of the painter and sculptor, however 
g^eat, falls short of this, or at least is different We here 
touch on another limitation of Dunbar, although it is closely 
allied with his chief merit He was not capable of a long- 
sustained effort " The Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo," 
his longest poem, is after all only a single scene and a 
dialogue, with three characters, whose parts are too similar 
for contrast He is at his best when he is brief, when a 
line or a word sets in motion in a moment a train of 
thought It IS true, the best dramatists have passages or 
lines which do this. They may be read in the study, as 
Shakespeare has been by Coleridge, or as the other drama- 
tists have been by Lamb. But the dramatist must not, at 
the peril of success in the representation of his plays, dis- 
tract his audience from following the progress of the drama. 
Because of this, Goethe has failed as a dramatist in his 


greatest work. The acted " Faust " is very different from 
the written poem. 

Mr Matthew Arnold has praised Wordsworth for the 
amount of good verse he has written, which, while admit- 
ting that he has written much that is not good, he claims to 
exceed that of the other poets of his time. For Dunbar 
an opposite claim may be put forward. The total amount of 
his verses is not g^eat, but in them there is scarcely a weak 
line. Varied as is his style, and although there are, of 
course, degrees of merit in his poetry, he is always direct, 
clear, and vigorous. Another, and it is the last and most 
important limitation of Dunbar, is that he is primarily a 
local, though not a temporary poet This was due to the 
place and the language in which he wrote. Scotland was 
and is a small country, and he wrote chiefly, not even for 
all Scotland, but for that part of it which knew the Court 
of James IV., in a dialect now seldom used for literature. 
Hence he requires unfortunately to be commented on and 
to be interpreted. He does not appeal directly to the 
people, and he requires an educated audience. 



When Dunbar is compared with the Scottish poets who 
preceded him, his superiority shows itself in his original- 
ity, his versatility, and the melody of his verse. The three 
most famous of these were chroniclers in verse rather than 
poets. They can scarcely claim the name of makers. The 
' Chronicle ' of Andrew of Wyntown, of great value as an 
early contribution to the history of Scotland, which it often 
treats more faithfully than the prose ' Chronicle ' of John of 


Fordoun, has little poetical merit The 'Bruce ' of John Bar- 
bour is a biography in rhyme of its hero, partly founded on 
history and partly on tradition ; but, with the exception of 
a few fine passages, as the apostrophe to Freedom, it has 
only one poetical quality — the easy flow of its simple 
rhyming lines. The 'Wallace' of Blind Harry, a less 
trustworthy record, is inferior in its versification. It has 
some passages of pith and rugged force, due to the great- 
ness of its subject, but cannot be deemed a great poem. 

All these writers merely put into verse, for facility of 
recollection, what had been handed down by learned or 
popular tradition. Dunbar did not seek his subjects in 
tradition or history. 

The earliest poetry of Scotland, as of other countries, 
was alliterative, and is represented by such works as 
Thomas the Rhyiner^s prophecies, the Romances from 
the Arthurian L^end, the "Auntyrs of Arthur," of 
Sir Gawain and Sir Tristram, and a few satirical poems, 
as "Cockelbie's Sow" and the "Houlat" of Holland. 
This alliterative species of poetry had been continued 
by some of the other poets Dunbar mentions in his 
" Lament," as Sir Gilbert Hay in the romance of " Alex- 
ander the Great" Dunbar himself, as we have seen, did 
not entirely drop its use, though generally using it in com- 
bination with rhyme. He did not, however, follow the 
older poets in making the common romance of the middle 
ages, or the popular ballads of his own country, the sub- 
ject of his verse. Arthur and Gawain, like Robin Hood 
and Adam Bell, are merely glanced at and passed by. He 
chose his subjects from the present, not from the past 

This is the more noteworthy, as his patron, James IV., 
did all he could to revive the glories of Arthur. He had 


his round table at Stirling, and his mimic tournaments of 
its knights. He named one of his sons Arthur, and per- 
haps instituted an order of knighthood in Arthur^s honour. 
But Dunbar was not a man to allow himself to be drawn 
away from his natural bent When he wrote, as he some- 
times had to do, verses to order, it was against the grain. 
He complains more than once that the inspiration would 
not come at the royal command. Although the alliterative 
romantic poets preceded him in time, they were not, any 
more than the metrical chroniclers, his poetic ancestors. 
He belonged to the line which began with Chaucer, was 
continued by Gower and Lydgate, and had already, in the 
" Kingis Quair " of James I., and the poems of Henryson, 
the Dunfermline schoolmaster, representatives in Scotland. 


These writers, although original poets, are more di- 
rectly imitators and continuators of Chaucer's style than 
Dunbar. Dunbar, while he gratefully acknowledges the 
father of English poetry as his master, takes from him 
chiefly his language, which often finds parallels; but as 
regards the substance of his poems, only the tale of " The 
Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo," and the verses on his 
Empty Purse, show traces of imitation. The characters 
of the two men, which are stamped on their poetry, were too 
distinct to allow of direct imitation. The cheerful, gentle, 
genial Englishman stands in marked contrast to the satir- 
ical, severe, and sad Scot. Both are full of humour ; but 
how different is the smile which ripples over the smooth 
verses of Chaucer from the grim and grotesque laughter of 
Dunbar ! To James I. Dunbar makes no allusion. In one 


point — ^the poetry of love — ^he is Dunbar's superior. But he 
is the author of only one poem. Henryson, in the sweet- 
ness of his verse, and uniform purity of his moral tone, ex- 
cels Dunbar, but has not the same faculty of invention 
or so great a variety either of metres or of subjects. 


It is, if anywhere, from the French poetry that Dunbar 
may seem to have borrowed some of the substance of his 
thoughts, as he certainly did some of the forms of his 
poems. The absence of any allusion to the famous 
masters of the Ballades and the Rondeaux — ^to Villon 
and Charles of Orleans — is sing^ular. We have again to 
remember that some of his poems are probably lost, — 
amongst them, those he wrote in France, unless his muse 
was silent at the period of life when it usually is most 
ready to sing. But there is another reason for his passing 
over the French poets. He had no real sympathy with 
them, although he could not remain unaffected by their 
melody and metre, and by the sweet melancholy which 
seems wedded to their artistic forms of verse, and is ex- 
pressed in their burdens and monotonous but telling re- 
frains. But here, too, he was original. He was never the 
slave of any form of metre or of poem, but was able to 
bring all into his service. As he is freer when he is 
alliterative than the old alliterative poets, so he is less 
strict in his use of the ballade, which does not conform to 
the French rules. If a French critic would probably deny 
him the praise of good taste as well as correctness, and 
blame him for protruding the moral, an English critic may 
claim for him a more manly style and a healthier view of life 


The result is that Dunbar used the three kinds of poetry 
which preceded him — ^the Alliterative of northern England 
and southern Scotland, the Chaucerian of southern England, 
and the French of Villon and the poets of the Renaissance 
— ^but did not allow his originality and independence to be 


overpowered. He is a representative of his country, which 
enriched its thought from the stores of other lands — 
England, France, and Germany — but remained true to 


The versatility of Dunbar is even more remarkable than 
his originality. In this he has outstripped not merely his 
predecessors but his successors, — Montgomery, Allan Ram- 
say, Fergusson, and Scott. They chiefly cultivated one 
kind of poetry. Bums alone can boast of the same variety 
— now comic, now tragic, now satirical, now moral, now 
religious. Bums, indeed, is his chief competitor — ^his 
superior in the poetry of love, in the poetry of pathos, in 
natural imagery, in lyric fire, in sympathetic charm ; his 
equal at least in satire and in sarcasm, perhaps in moral 
and religious poetry. But Burns has not a firmer hand, 
and does not so readily pass from one mood to another. 
Both of them, and indeed all their countrymen, were denied 
the dramatic gift. Scotland ceased to be an independent 
country before the theatre came to its full birth, and after 
its birth Calvinism long forbade a fit audience, even if there 
had been a poet who could write tragedy or comedy. If 
the future should produce a Scottish dramatist, the past of 
his country has fumished him with ample material for the 



The mastery of metre, which is the third point of Dun- 
bar's excellence, has often been remarked. 

It has been carefully studied by Professor Schipper in 
his work/ by far the best which has been written on that 
subject Probably it was the quality which first drew the 
attention of this Grerman author to Dunbar. The present 
introduction is indebted to Mr M'Neill for a valuable 
note, which deals with the intricacies and niceties of 
this difficult topic Here only one or two points can be 
touched. Dunbar well stands the test in which many 
poets who have been great masters in metre faiL With 
him sound never prevails over sense. His metres are used 
to attract, and do not distract the reader from the subject. 
How well he uses his command of metre to help to express 
the subject may be seen in the erratic form he selected for 
the extravagant burlesque of " Kind Kyttok," the tripping 
measure of the ''Satire on Donald Owre,'' the jingling 
peal of the verses on St Giles in the " Dirge," the solemn 
refrain of the " Lament for the Makaris," like the tolling of 
a funeral bell, and in many other of his poems. The best 
English poets since Wordsworth, it might almost be said 
since Shakespeare, have generally preferred simpler and less 
artificial forms of verse, especially the stately blank verse 
which the genius of Milton, Wordsworth, Tenn)rson, and 
Browning has adapted to so many varieties, or the rhyming 
couplets of the verse called heroic, which the vigour of 
Dryden and the grace of Pope made for a time the classic 
style of English poetry. The sonnet almost alone remains 
in frequent use of the forms which English poetry borrowed 

1 'AltenglischeMetrik.' 


from France and Italy. The English and Scottish ballads 
are only in name the same as the French ballades, and 
their beauty and variety is due to nature, and not to art 

But the cadence and melody of the forms it is scarcely 
just to call artificial, but which are subject to more strict 
and complex rules, cannot be denied. A reaction has 
recently set in amongst our younger poets whose admirers 
will do full justice to Dunbar's skill as a metrist. It was 
no slight feat to bring the forcible but rough dialect which 
was his mother tongue to speak in the same measures as 
French and Italian verse. Yet in a few of his poems he 
has not escaped the danger of over-subtlety in metres ; and 
his use of so many of the French varieties gfives his poetry 
a sort of foreign complexion to the modem English reader, 
who, if he does not consider this a charm, will deem it an 



If we pass beyond the narrow bounds of Scotland, the 
three European poets with whom Dunbar may best be 
compared and contrasted are Horace amongst the ancient, 
Villon amongst the later medieval or Renaissance, and Heine 
amongst the modem classics. Like Horace, Dunbar was a 
poet of the Court, yet a moralist and a satirist of its vices. 
Like Horace, he seized happy occasions for putting com- 
mon thoughts into perfect poetic expression. Like Horace, 
he was a master of words and metres. But the Scottish 
poet has not the incomparable grace and felicity of the 
Roman. The Court of James IV. was a different school 
and audience from the Court of Augustus. The broad 


Scottish dialect, though one of the strongest of all dialects, 
never became, like Latin, one of the classical languages of 
the world To Villon, Dunbar stands nearer in point of 
time and manner ; but the similarity is apparent and on 
the surface, rather than real and deep. Both poets preached 
from the same texts the vanity of human wishes, the vicissi- 
tudes of life, and the inevitable end. But they had learned 
these texts in different schools, and their sermons have differ- 
ent, indeed opposite conclusions. Villon contemplated, with- 
out flinching, the scaffold as the end of life, and did not care 
to look beyond, content with enjoying the present as best 
he could. Dunbar was discontented with life as it was; and 
though he occasionally was blithe and merry, and could 
take part in the amusements which turned the mind from 
despondent thoughts, he always had in view the life to 
come. The one was, it must be said, fundamentally an 
irreligious, the other a religious poet. Heine has the same, 
perhaps a more daring freedom, in the subjects he treats — 
the same sense of the vanity of life, the same keen satiric 
edge. Both waged war, as most satirists have done, with 
the conventions and cant of their age. Like Dunbar, 
Heine is at his best in short poems, in apt words and 
memorable lines. But though not so destitute of religrious 
feeling as Villon, Heine is at heart a mocking-bird — ^the 
saddest of all poets. He is the superior of Dunbar in 
pathos, and in the melody of song; his inferior, although 
gifted with more talent, by the lack of reverence and of 
hope. Another less obvious comparison is tempting. The 
artistic qualities of Dunbar have more than once led to the 
use of language in this sketch borrowed from the sister 
arts. Perhaps his nearest parallel is to be found in another 
German, his contemporary, the etcher of the '' Melancolia," 


the " Knight and the Devil," and the " Prodigal Son." If 
the parallel with Albert Durer is admitted, it is a striking 
proof of .the deep current of common thought running 
through Europe at the period which immediately preceded 
the Reformation, and swaying the master-minds of different 
countries. Such comparisons, imperfect as they must be, 
may perhaps aid a little in bringing home to the readers of 
poetry in the present day the character and position of this 
not forgotten but not yet adequately known poet of Scot- 
land, who wrote when the medieval was giving way to the 
modem spirit 

It requires, it must be confessed, not merely careful 
study but a mental effort to appreciate Dunbar as he 
deserves. The language in which he wrote, once so famil- 
iar, now requires to be interpreted even to his own coun- 
trymen. The manners of his time are even more remote 
from ours. The modes, not merely of expression but of 
thought, are different. But when these difHculties are 
overcome, the reader finds that he has listened to a true 
poet, who has illustrated the history and language of his 
country, and has also spoken words seasonable for his 
own and other times. 



yVM&— The SocieCy is indebted to Mr W. Maitland Anderson. BIA.. Libnzttn of 
the Unhrersity of St Andrews, for an exact transcript of the entries in its 
Records. The excerpts from the Public Records of Scotland have been taken 
from Mr Ij^aing's edition. The Historical Curator of the Records of Scotland, 
Mr Didoon. a member of the Coondl of the Society, has been good enough 
to search the Records subsequent to 1513, and corroborates Mr Laing's 
statement that there is no r efer en ce to Dnnbar to be found in thenu 

I. Excerpts prom Acta Facultatis Artium, St Andrews. 

[1477] Nomina Determinandum Anm septuaf^ sepUnd, 







































mL solut- 





















[1479] Nomina licenciatorum Anni septua^* nani. 




prior ec81ie metro- 
politane sancti 

























Do^ Jacobs 


2. Excerpts from the Public Records relative to 

William Dunbar. 

Accounts of the Lord High Tre<isurer oj Scotland, 

1491. Item to my Lord Boythwhell quilk the king gart him git 

July 16. to the schipmen of the Katryn besyd North berwic quhen 

the Imbassatouris past in Franss, xl demyss, 

xxyj ti XV. s. iiij. d. 

Item til a Priest that wrayt the instrumentis and otheris 

letteris that past with the Imbassatouris in France, 

xxxyj s. 
Privy Seal Register, Vol. ii.foL 9. 

1500. A Lettre maid to Maifler Williame Dunbar of the gift of 
Aug. 15. ten ti. of penfioune to be pait to him of our Souerane 

gratis. Lordis cofferis, be the Thefaurare, for al the dais of his 
life, or quhil he be promovit be oure Souerane Lord to a 
benefice of xl ti or abone, &c. de data, xv^o Auguflj, et 
regni Regis xiij, [1500.] Per Signaturam. 

Henry VH.^s Privy Purse Expenses^ printed in Bent ley's * Historical 
1831, /. 126, from Transcript in British Museum, addl. MSS. 7099. 

31 Dec. 1 501. To the Rhymer of Scotland in rewarde, £6, 13s. 4d. 
7 Jan. 1502. £6, 13s. 4d. to a Rhymer of Scotland. 

Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer. 

1 501. Item, to Maifter William Dunbar in his penfioun of Mer- 
May 23. tymes bipaft, be command of ane precept, . . v ti. 
July 20. Item, to Maifter William Dunbar, his penfioun of the 

Witfonday terme bipaft, be command of ane precept, v ti 

Dec. 20. Item, to Maifter William Dunbar, quhilk was payit to him 

efter he com furth of Ingland, . . . . v ti. 

1 This designation has been added to the entry of the name at a later time. 


1502. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, (ic like, [his penfioun of 

July 9. Witfonday terme bipaft,] v ti, 

Nov. 12. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, his penfioun of the faid 

terme of Mertymes, v ti. 

1503. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, his half 3eris penfioun 
June 14. of the faid terme [of Witfonday lafl], . . . v ti. 
Nov. 12. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, his penfioun of Mer- 
tymes fik lyke, v ti. 

1503-4. Item, the xvij day of March, to the Kingis offerand at 
March 17. Maifler William Dunbar's firfl mes, vij fr. cr. 

Sm. nij. ti. xviijs. 

1504. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, his penfioun fie like, 
May 28. [of the terme of Witfonday bipafl,] . . . v ti. 
Nov. 12. Item, to Maifler Dunbar, his penfioun ficlike, [of the terme 

of Mertymes bipafl,] v ti. 

1505. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, his penfioun ficlike, [of 
May 4. the terme of Witfonday,] v ti. 

Aug. II. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, be the Kingis com- 
mand, xliji. 

Nov. II. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, his penfioun of Mer- 
tymes, V ti. 

1505-6. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, be the Kingis command, 
Jan. 27. for caus he wantit his goun at Jule, . . . v ti. 

1506. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, his penfioun of terme 
June 2. forefaid, [of Witfonday,] v ti. 

Aug. II. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, be the Kingis com- 
mand, V ti. 

Nov. 12. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, his penfioun of the faid 

terme [of Mertymes], v ti 

1506-7. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, in recompenfation for 
Jan. 4. his goun, v ti. 

1507. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, his half ^ris penfioun 
May 23. of the faid terme [of Witfonday], . . v ti. 
Nov. 12. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, his penfioun of the faid 

terme [of Mertymes], x ti. 

& new ekit 
1507-8. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, be the Kingis com- 
March 15. mand, v ti. 

1508. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, his penfioun of the faid 
June 15. terme [of Witfonday], x ti. 

26. Item, the xxij day of Junij, to Maifler William Dunbar, be 
the Kingis command, iij ti. x i. 

The Treasurer's Accoonts from August 1508 to August 151 1 have not been 


Privy Seal Register^ Vol, iv,foL 80. 

1 5 10. A Lettre maid to Maifler William Dunbar, of the gift of 
Aug. 26. ane Jeirly penlioun of iiij** [four-score] ti. to be pait to 
gratis, him at Mertymes and Witfonday of the Kingis cofferis 
be the Thefaurar that now is, and beis for the tyme, or 
quhill he be promouit to [ane] benefice of jc [one hun- 
dred] ti. or abone, &c ; with command to the faid The- 
faurar to pay the famyn, and to the Auditouris of chekker 
to allow, &c. At Edinburgh the xxvj day of Auguft the 
jere forfaid [anno regni Regis xxiij. 15 10.] 

Per Signaturam. 

Accounts 0/ the Lord High Treasurer. 

151 1, Nov. ) Item, to Maifler William Dunbar takand termlie fourtj ti. 

1 5 12, May, ) of Martimes and Witfonday lafl, . . Sm. Ixxx. ti. 
151 1- 12. Item, to Maifler William Dunbar, for his Jule leveray, vj 
Jan. 23. elnis ane quartar Parife blak to be h3rme ane gowne, 

price eln xl S. Sm. xij ti. x. i. 

Item, allowit to the faid Maifler William, attour his 
leveray was tane at 3ule in anno V^xj. [15 11], v. quar- 
taris scarlete, price .... iij ti. ij i. vj. d. 

1 5 12. Item, the xxiiij day of December, to Maifler William 
Dec. 24. Dunbar his Mertymes fee, be the Kingis command, xl ti. 

1 51 3, Item, the first day of Aprile, to Maifler William Dun- 
April I. bar, xlij i. 

14. Item, the xiiij day of Aprile, gevin to Maifler William 

Dunbar, xlij i. 

May 14. Item, the xiiij day of Maij, to Maifler William Dunbar in 
his penfioun, Ivj i. 

The Treasurer's Accounts from Aug. 8, 1513, to June 1515, have not been pre- 
served. In those of a subsequent date, Dunbar's name does not appear. 

APPENDIX. clvii, 


To arrange Dunbar's poems in order of date is admittedly difficult— 
so difficult, that none of his editors have attempted it except Professor 
Schipper ; and the most recent of his biographers, Mr Thomas Bayne, 
in the ' Dictionary of National Biography/ says that only one of the 
poems, " The Thistle and the Rose," can be accurately dated. Yet 
the attempt is worth making, for the light it throws on his life and 
the progress of his thought Thanks to the facts discovered in 
the Records, chiefly by the research of Mr George Chalmers and 
Mr David Laing, and to the use made of them by Professor Schipper, 
some points are now certain. The main divisions followed in this 
Table of— I. Poems written before 1503; IL Poems written in relation 
to the Queen's marriage, 1 501-1503 ; IIL Poems written between 1503 
and 1 5 13; IV. Poems written after 15 13, — are well established. The 
dates of a few poems in these divisions are also ascertained, as that in 
Praise of London, vnritten for Christmas 1501 ; "The Thistle and the 
Rose," written on 9th May 1503 ; the Song of Welcome to Margaret, 
written for her Wedding, 8th August 1503; the Epitaph on Donald 
Owre, written in 1506 ; the Satires on the Abbot of Tungland, 
written in 1507 ; the Ballad on Bernard Stewart, written between 9th 
May and 9th June 1508; his Elegy, written shortly after the latter date ; 
the " Lament for the Makaris," written in 1507 or 1508 ; the Panegyric 
on Aberdeen, written in 151 1 ; the "Orisoun, quhen the Gouemour 
passed in France," written in June 15 17; SLnd its sequel, on his 
Absence in France, written probably in 152a For the rest, only 
conjectures can be made, and it appears impossible to give the 
precise years of the poems, with the exceptions above noted. It will be 
found that the present writer, while he has exercised an independent 
judgment and explained its grounds, has generally come to the same 
conclusions as Professor Schipper. Where he has difiered from that 
writer, it has always been with hesitation. There is an internal har- 
mony in the tone of Dunbar's vnritings, although that tone varied with 
different periods of his life, which gives the best clue to the time 
when individual poems were composed ; and when this is found to 
agree with the indications, often slight, afforded by allusions to par- 
ticular persons or writers, the opinion that the correct date has been 
found is confirmed. A subsidiary reason for making the Table has 
been to give the readers of this edition an easy mode of referring, as 
it is hoped many of them will do, to Professor Schipper^s very in- 
structive work, " Das Leben und Gedichte von William Dunbar : " 
Beriin, 1884. 



I. Poems probably written before the Marriage of 
James IV. and Margaret Tudor, 1503. 








TmjE OP Poem. 

1. A New Yeof^s Gift to the King. 

This appears to have been written before Don- 
bar desired a benefice, and looked only for a gift 
oat of " Frannoe crownes," — line 18. 

2. The Tod and the Lamb ; or. The Wowing of 

the King quhen he wes in Dumfermeling. 

Evidently written before the king's mairiage. 
The king was at Dnnfermline on X5th Jan. 1489- 
90, and again on 24th Jan. 1490-91. (Treasorer's 

3. Ane Brash of Wotoing. 

"In secreit place this h3mdir nycht." 

The style and subject indicate this was an 
early poem of Dunbar. The expression, " this 
hyndir nycht, " occurs both in this and the preced- 
ing poem, and also in that *' On Deeming.** 

4. T?ie Dregy maid to the Kyng, bydand our 

lang in Striuilling, 

Written after 1494, when the king founded the 
Monastery of the Observantines at Stirling, but 
before his marriage. There is no reference to 
the queen, but only a *'cumpany of lordis and 
knychtis," at Edinburgh, — ^line 15. 

5. Aganis the Solistaris in Court, 

Dunbar's "humill cheir and face/' and his 
confidence in '*the Idngis grace" as sufficient — 
so different from the later more querulous peti- 
tions — indicate this was an early poem. 

6. The Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo, 

Certainly ^"ritten before 1508, when it was 
printed, and probably several years before, finom 
its subject, and the complete alliteration of its 















7. 7^ Tkoa Cummeris. 

Rycht airlie on Ask Weddinsday.** 

This is in the same vein as No. 6, and probably 
written about the same time. 

8. The Frdris of Berwik. 

If by Dunbar, the style and subject point to its 
being an eariy poem, written periiaps after a visit 
to Berwick on one of his early journeys. The 
appearance of the pretended page, a familiar 
spirit *'in liknes of a fireir,** and "in habdt 
Uak," that of the Franciscans, is quite in Dun- 
bar's manner of *'The Visitatkm of St FrandSy** 
p. 131. 

9. The Ballad of Kynd KiUok. 

^ This, though not ascribed to Dunbar by name, 
is so much in his style as to be almost certainly 
by him. It was printed in 1508, and written 
probably several years before, when the king was 
more in use to visit Falkland than after his 
marriage. The alliteration also favours the view 
that it was one of Dunbar's early works. 






2. Poems written about the time of the Betrothal and 
Marriage of James IV. and Margaret Tudor, 1501-1503. 


TrrLS OF Pobm. 




10. Learning vain without guid Lyfe. 

Wsittkn at Oxinfurds. 

Of uncertain date, but Dunbar's visit to Eng- 
land in 1501 with the Scottish ambassadors is the 
most probable time for his having been at Ox- 
fiordy where it is said to have been written. 





Title op Pobm. 









1 1. In Praise of Ltmdan, 

Christmas 1501, when it was redted at the 
feast given by the Lord Mayor to the Scottish 

1 2. The Goldyn Targe. 

Written in May 1503. 

13. Beauty and the Prisoner. 

" Sen that I am a presoneir." 

Probably written aboat the same time as the 
preceding. The reference to "Matremony, that 
nobill king." as patting Sklandir to flight, points 
to this. The slander perhaps related to the king's 
connection with Lady Maigaret Drammond, or 
to her sadden death along with her sister in 1502, 
which gave rise to a saspidon of poisoning. 

14. The Thistle and the Rose. 

Written on the occasion of the royal mar- 
riage, and dated 9th May (1503), — line 189. 

15. Welcome of Margaret as Queen of Scot- 


" Now fayre, fayrest off every fayre." 

Written to welcome Margaret on her arrival 
in Scotland, and sung at the banqaet after her 
wedding, 8th August 1503. 

16. Ane LUtil Interlud of the Droichis part of 

the Play. 

This may have been one of the masques or plays 
got up to entertain the queen on her coming to 
Scotland. Its allusions point to its having been 
acted at Edinburgh. 









3. Poems probably written between 1503 and 1513. 


TiTLX OP Poem. 




• •• 

17. To the Queen, 

" Gladethe thoue Queyne of Scottis re- 

From the reference to the hopes of the birth of 
an heir, probably written before 1506. 



18. Against TYeason. 

Epitaph on Donald Owrb. 
" In vice most vicius he excellis." 

Donald Owre or Dabh (the Black), son of 
Angus, Lord of the Isles, nused his clansmen 
and adherents at Christmas 1503, and was taken 
prisoner and committed to Edinburgh Castle in 
1506. This poem must have been written shortly 



19. Tidings from the Session. 

The ambulatory Sessions of James I. were 
succeeded bj the Daily Council, fixed at Edin- 
burgh by James IV. in 1503. This poem has 
been supposed to refer to the former Court, but 
its contents are more applicable to the latter, 
and the name of Session or Sitting was probably 
still retained for the Daily CoundL 



2a Lady Solistaris at Court. 

" Thir ladyis fair, That makis repair." 

This, like the precedmg poem, refers to the 
fixed Court at Edinburgh, and was probably 
written after 1503. 



21. Aganis the Solistaris in Court. 

This seems to apply to the Court of the king 
rather than the Courts of Law, but,, from the 

as the preceding. 















22. SiUire on Edinburgh. 

The reference in lines 57 and 58 to the ''repair 
of this regioon " to Edinburgh for the Court and 
the Session, indicates this also to have been 
composed after 1503. 

23. Against Swearing; ar^ The DeviTs Inquest, 

" This nycht in my sleip I wes agast" 

This satire on the oaths of the different crafts 
and classes of the capital seems to belong to the 
same time as the Satire on Edinburgh. 

24. To the Quene. 

This poem, written on Fastem's Eve (Shrove 
Tuesday), must have been composed after 1503, 
and from its subject, probably some years after. 

25. Of a Dance in the Quenis Chalmer, 

This poem also was probably written some 
years after the queen's marriage, and from the 
reference to the Master Almoner, Dr Babington, 
who was made Dean of Aberdeen in 1507, prob- 
ably before that date. 

26. Ane Ballat of the Fenyit Freir of Tung- 


The date of the pretended flight, with wings, 
of John Damian, the impostor Abbot of Tung- 
land, fixes this poem as written about October 

27. The Birth of Antichrist, 

"Lucina schynning in silence of the nicht. 

This also has a reference to the Abbot's flight, 
lines 44 and 45. 


28. The Dream ; or^ A General Satire, 

*' Devorit with drem, devysing in my 

The stanza beginning line 46 points to 1507 or 
1508 as its probable date. 












TiTLB OP Poem. 






29. How Dumbar wes desyrd to he one Freir ; 

or^ The Visitation of St Francis. 

Lines 31 and 32 point at least to this having 
been written many years after the period of Dan- 
bar's novitiate as a fnar, which period was prob- 
ably between 1479-91. 

30. The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie. 

This was written before 1508, when it was 
printed by Chepraan and Myllar. Its date is not 
certain, but the allusion in it to Kennedy's 
" laithly luge that wes the lippir mennis " 
appears to refer to Glentigh, acquired by Ken- 
nedy on 8th December 1504 ; while the allusion 
to Stobo, who died in the first half of 1505, as 
still living, places it between these two dates. 

31. Lament for the Makaris, 

This also was printed in 1508, and probaUy 
written shortly before that date. 

32. Afy he id did yah ysternicht. 

Uncertain date, but perhaps written during 
the same illness as the Lament. 

33. The Dana of the Sevin Deidly Synnis. 

Written on the 15th February, the day before 
Fastem's Eve, i6th February 1507. The reference 
to the Abbot of Tungland in line 12 points to 
this year as its probable date. 

34. TheTumamentoftheTelymrandSawtaris, 

Written at the same time as the preceding, of 
whidi it is a continuation. 









204 35. The Amendis to the Telymris and Sawtaris, 127 

Written soon after the preceding poem. 

225 36. The Testament of Mr Andro Kennedy. • 54 

Printed by Chepman and Myllar in 1508, and 
so written before that year. 









Ofane Blak-Moir. 

Probably written on occasion of the Tourna- 
ment in honour of the Black Lady in June 1507. 




The Ballad of Lord Bernard Stewart. 

Written between 9th May 1508, when Stewart 
arrived in Scotland, and his death, on 9th June 




Elegy an the Death of Bernard Stewart. 

Written shortly alter his death, 9th June 1508. 




To a Ladye, 

This and the next poems may have been 
written before, but more probably after, 1503. 




Be y ane Luvar, think y nocht y suld. 

Of uncertain date, but probably about the same 
time as the preceding. 


• •• 


Fane wald I Luve^ hot quhair abowt f 

The conclusion of this poem is in the same 
strain as the preceding, and it is probably about 
the same date. 


• • • 


Gtf y wald Lufe and Luvit be. 

Similar in tone to, and probably about the 
same date as the preceding. 




To a Ladye. Quhone he list tofeyne. 

In this poem Dunbar finally abandons love, 
and his hopes turn to the desire for a post or a 




Quha will behald of Lta^e the chance. 

Written also after he had given up thoughts of 











46. Of Janus Doigy Kepar of the Quenis War- 


This must have been written after the queen's 
marriage; and as Doig entered her service in 
1503, and continued in it till 1523, it maj have 
been written anj time between these dates, but 
most probably aixmt 1507-8. 

47. Of the same fames, quhen he had plesdt 


This, fipom its terms, most have been written a 
little later than the preceding. 

48. Of Sir Thomas Norray. 

If. as is probable, the Qnhentjne lef eiied to in 
line 37 was Qnintyn Schaw, who died shortly 
before 1508, — ' * Lament for the Makaris," line 86. 
— and as Cuirie, Une 43, died in 1506, this poem 
may be dated between 1503, when Norray first 
appears, and 1508. 

49. Complaint against Mure, 

Mure is onknown, but "Cuddy Rig the Drum- 
fress fuin,'* line 24, appears between 1504 and 
1512 in the Treasurer's Accounts, which gives an 
approximate date for this poem. 

50. Faine wald /, with all diligence. 

This seems to refer to attacks upon his Satire, 
perhaps by the penons l e f e r red to in the preced- 
ing poem. 

51. To the King, on his Empty Purse. 

" Sanct Saluatour ! send siluer sorrow." 

This, and the nine following poems, were pro- 
bably written be tw een 1503 and 1510, when Dun- 
bar's pension being increased to the large sum of 
;f 80, probably his complaints ceased. This 
seems one of the eariiest,— either soon after, or 
possibly before, 1503. 



















52. To the King^ thai he war Johne Thomo- 

sum's Man, 

This must have been written, and probably 
some years, after the king's marriage. 

53. To the King, quhen many Benefices vakit 

Probably written between 1503 and 15x0. 

54. To the King, after the Benefices were filled 


Written soon after the preceding. 

55. To the King, recalling his Services, 

•* Schir, Jit remembir as of befoir." 

This appears to be one of the later petitions to 
the king, but probably written before 151a 

56. To the King, Of the Warldis InstabilitU, 

The refrain and the renewed references to Dun- 
bar's services point to this as about the same 
date as the preceding. 






271 ^1' To the King, Dunbat's Complaint. 212 

Of uncertain date, but evidently pointed at 
some unworthy person promoted in the Church 
to vacant bendlces; probably written before 

^ 274 

58. To the King, Dunbar's Remonstrance. 220 

From the reference to '• pryntaris," line 16, this 
must have been written after 1507, when the first 
printers came to Scotland. 

215 59- ^^ l^^ King, The Petition of the Gray 215 

Horse, Auld Dunbar. 

This is the last of the petitions, written pro- 
bably before 15 10. when his p>ension was raised 
to {fio. 




TiTLB OP Poem. 






Of Discretiaun in Asking. 

This and the two followmg were evidently 
written about the same time, and from the refer- 
ence to the Abbot of Tmigland, p. 88, line 36, 
after October 1507. They sum up Dunbai^s 
philosophy on the subject of petitions. 




Of Discretiaun in Geving. 




Of Discretiaun in Taking. 




Welconu to the Lord Treasurer. 

This may very probably have been written on 
the receipt of his first term's pension, at the rate 
of jf 80, on Nov. II, 1511. 




To the Lords of Exchequer. 

This may have been written in 1512-13, when 
his pension seems to have been irregularly paid, 
and in part forestaUed by payments of smaller 
sums before the time when it was due. 




Every one his own Enemy. 

" He that hes gold and grit richcss." 

The lines 21, 22 — 

" Now all this tyme lat ws be miny, 
And sett nocht by this warid a chirry," 

connect this with the following. 




Eul/ oft I mvss and hes in thocht. 

With the refrain — 

" For to be blyth me think it best" 

Of uncertain date, but probably written after 
1510, when Dunbar was taking a more tranquil 
view of life, but still recalled the worid's un- 
kindness, line 31. This and the following poem 
seem connected by their tone, but whether written 
at the same time is uncertain. 




Hermes the Philosopher. 

'* Be mirry and glaid, honest and vertewous, 
Ffor that suffisis to anger the invyous." • 










In Praise of Aberdeen. 

"Blyth Aberdein, thow beriall of all 

This was written on the queen's visit to Aber- 
deen in August 151 X. 




How sowid I rewiil me, or quhat wyiss. 

This is in a similar vein to the next poem, and 
probably written towards the close of James IV.'s 




Of Denting. 

** Musing allone this hinder nicht" 

This was evidently written, from the reference 
in line 46, in the latter part of the reign of James 







71. Of Covetts. 

" Ffredome, Honour and Nobilnes." 

Written while Dunbar was still at the Court, 
and from its tone one of his later poems, but of 
tmcertain date. 

72. Of Content 

Oi uncertain date, but in a similar moral tone 
to the preceding. 

73. Man, sen thy Lyfe is ay in Weir. 

The refrain — 

" Thyne awin gud spend quhill thow hes space," 

is Dunbar's advice against covetousness, but is 
scarcely in his latest manner. 

74. Rule of One's Self 

"To dwell in court, my freind, gife that 
thow list." 

In a similar strain to No. 69. 








Title op Pobm. 





Meditatioun in Wyntir. 

Might have been written in any winter, but 
from the reference to age (line 31), probably not 
earlier than X5ia 




Of the Changes of Lyfe. 

Might have been written on any sudden change 
of weather, but probably, from its tone, after 
1510 and before 1513. 


• • • 


Ballate against Evil Women, 

Of uncertain date, but probably between 1508 
and 1513. 




In Prays of Woman. 

The pahnode for the preceding, and probably 
written shortly after it. 


4. Poems probably written after 15 13. 


Title of Poem. 




■ • • 

79. Doun by ane Rever as I red. 

Of uncertain date; but the reference to the 
deaths of kingis and lordis (line 5) perhaps points 
to a date soon after Flodden. 



80. To the Quene-Doutager. 

"0 lusty flour of ^wth, benyng and 

The reference to the king's death (line 35) 
points to this having been written after Flodden. 















81. Ane Orisoun^ quhen the Gauemour past in 


Written in June 1517. when Albany, after a 
second attempt to govern Scotland, returned to 
France, leaving De la Bastie as his representa* 

82. Quhome to sail I camplene my wo. 

Of uncertain date, but from the tone and (line 


" In prinds is thair no pety," 

probably after 1513. 

83. Against the Govemaur, 

''We Lordis hes chosin a chiftane mer- 

Written some time after Albany's departure in 
June 1517, urging his return, probably in 1520. 
He did not come back to Scotland till November 
19, 152 1, when Dunbar was probably dead. 

84. The Merle and the Nychtingale, 

" In May as that Aurora did vpspring." 

This and the following poems mark the transi- 
tion to Dunbar's latest period, in which it is pro- 
bable his hymns were written. He has aban- 
doned finally earthly love, and his thoughts 
centre on religion and the love of God. 

85. Of Lufe Erdly and Divine. 

" Now cumis aige quhair Jewth hes bene." 

86. All Erdly Joy returnis in Pane. 

A Lenten meditation, probably written after 

87. The Taible of Confissioun. 

" I cry The mercy, and lasar to repent." 

This confession of a priest familiar with the 
Roman doctrine of Confession probably belongs 
to the close of Ehmbar's life. 











Tmji OP Poem. 






A Prayer. 

This and the followmg rdigioiis poems or 
hymns on the Christian year were probably 
written after 1513, bat may have been written for 
the services to which they refier in eariier yeais^ 




Bymn far Christmas^ or the Festival of 

" Rorate celi desuper ! " 


• • « 


Another Christmas Hymn. 
"Jerusalem reioss for joy." 


• • • 


Another Christmas Hymn. 
" Now glaidith euery liffis creature." 


• • • 


Another Christmas Hymn. 
" The Sterne is rissin of our redemptioun." 




Hymn far Lent. 
" synfull man, thir ar the fourty dayis. 




2^ Passioun of Christ — Hymn for Good- 

At the date when this was written, Dunbar, 
from the opening lines, appears to have been 
resident in a monastery, so it deariy belongs 
to the penod of his life after 1513. 




The Resurredum of Christ — Hymn far 

" Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro.** 




Another Hymn far Easter. 
" Done is a battell on the dragon blak." 




Ane Ballot of our Lady. Hymn to the 









• • • 


Another Hymn to the Virgin. 
** Roiss Mary most of vertew virginall." 




0/ Afan^s Martalitie, Hymn far Ash 

" Memento, homo, quod cinis es ! " 

This and the two following poems, whether 
written at the end of his life or not, were evi- 
dently written at a time when he contemplated 
it as near. 





" Quhat is this lyfe hot ane straucht way 
to deid.- 

Might have been written at anj serious moment 
of life, but probably towards its dose. 




Of the Warldis Vanity. 

" wreche, be war ! this warld will wend 
the fro.- 

The same remark applies as in the preceding 




By G. P. M'Neill, Esq., LL.B., Advocate. 

Dunbar's poems, regarded exclusively in their formal aspect, may 
be divided into three general classes : (i) that in which alliteration is 
the basis of the structure of the verse ; (2) that in which the verse is 
made up of rhymed couplets ; and (3) the more elaborate poems, 
in which the verse is formed into strophes of greater or less 


I.— Alliterative Verse. 

Dunbar's poems afford only one example of this style of verse, — 
only one piece, that is to say, in which alliteration is the means 
whereby the language is measured out into regular divisions, for 
alliteration is frequently employed by Dunbar in his rhymed verse as 
an ornament But in " The Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo " (p. 
30} the alliteration is the basis of the verse. This poem is the longest 
of those known to be by Dunbar, and, with the exception of " The 
Freiris of Berwik," the longest of those attributed to him. It extends 
to 530 lines. The form is best exhibited by an example. In the 
following extract, which includes the first ten lines, the skeleton of 
the verse is brought into prominence by typographical devices, the 
caesura being marked by a bar and the letters forming the alliteration 
being printed in italics :— 

" Apon the A/idsumer ewin, | Miriest of nichtis, 
I mwrit forth allane, | neir as jmdnicht wes past, 
Besyd ane^udlie^rene^fEuth, | foil oigsty flonris, 
/^egeit, of an Auge Aicbt | with Aawthome treis ; 
5 Quhairon ane Ard, on ane ^ransche, | so Airst out hir notis 
That neoer ane A3rthfollar ^ird | was on the ^euche harde : 
Qohat throw the jugaiat jound | of hir iang glaid, 
And throw the jaoar ianathie | of the judt flouris, 
I drew in <feme to the djk \ to </irkin eftir mjrthis ; 
10 The tffew tffonldt the dkill, | and ^ynarit the foulis.** 

If these lines are read with a natural emphasis, it will be seen that 
the verses fall each into two hemistichs, containing each two accented 
syllables and an irregular number of unaccented syllables. Thus in 
line I, the division or caesura is marked at the word eruin; the ac> 
cented syllables in the first hemistich being the first oiMidsumer and 
the first of ewin^ while those of the second half-line are the first of 
mirriest and the first of nichtis. The same accentual structure will be 
observed in the remaining lines. The metre, then, depends, in the 
first place, on the regular recurrence of four accents in each verse. 
It is like the measure of "common time" in music, which is marked 
by four beats in every bar. In the second place, the verse is measured 
out by alliteration according to ascertainable rules, the chief and 
simplest of which is that in every line the first three of the accented 
syllables shall begin with the same consonant This is the most 
generally observed rule of alliterative poetry, although it is not very 
strictly followed by Dunbar. Lines 5, 6, 7, and 8 of the above-quoted 
passage give good examples of its application. But the rule is fol- 
lowed with constancy only in the earlier specimens of this verse, 
which, as is well known, was the original form assumed by the poetry 
of all nations of a Teutonic origin. The verse was treated with much 
more freedom in later times ; and as this poem of Dunbar is one of 


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be seen, the rhymed couplet is exhibited in many aspects in the more 
complete strophes which he most affected. The poems in this measure 
may be divided according to the length of their lines into {a) long or 
five-foot couplets, and (d) short or four-foot couplets. 

(a) Long- C&upieis, 

There is only one piece of this kind, the lines " In Prays of Woman " 
(p. 170}, among the poems known to be by Dunbar ; but the long nar- 
rative poem, " The Freiris of Berwik " (p. 285), which is attributed 
to him, is an excellent example of its adaptation to popular poetry. 
The versification of these two poems exhibits the same general 
characteristics, and the first seventeen lines of the longer poem may 
be taken to display its structure. The signs used are as follows: 
The mark | divides the line into feet ; the double bar || notes the posi- 
tion of the caesura ; the mark ^ represents an unaccented syllable, 
and "" one which bears the metrical accent 

" As It I beiSD, D &nd h2pp|liinlt In-ttd deid, 

\^poQn I & levCr, thfi qOhilk | b cSllpt TwSid ; 

At TuFjBdtls mdwth \ thair stftndb | & ii6b|ni tdiio. 

Qnhalr mdnty lOrdb y bCs btee | df grit | rtedviie, 
5 Qahalr mOnOr ft Uldy y bene | Oir | df filce. 

And mdny | ftne frCscM y l&st|f gftUI&nd wftss. 

!n-td I this tdan, Q th« qnhilk | Is ciim | Berwik. 

\^poan I the sfiy U thaIr stfindjls n&ne | It lyk, 

F6r it I b wftlDt wdU | &bdwt | with stfine, 
10 And ddw|ben stflnkb Q c9st|In mOn|y fine ; 

And syne | the cSsteil y is | s5 strftng | And wicht, 

With strait | tdwrls y And t&iiftttii he | 6n Idcht ; 

The wftlljls wrOdit y criLftieiy I wtth&n ; 

The pOrtjdUes y mtet s&b| tfilf 1 16 Oil, 
15 Qohen thftt I thftme Dst y td diftw | thftme Vplo&n hicht ; 

Th&t it I mlcht be y fifnA | mAner | df micht 

T6 win I th&t hoOss y be criLft 1 6r sab{tatie. " 

It will be seen that the simplest and normal unit of this verse con- 
sists of two lines, consisting each of ten syllables, alternately unac- 
cented and accented, having each a pause or break after the second 
accented syllable, and bound together by the rhyming syllable at the 
end of each. 

This is the form of verse known as the heroic couplet The oldest 
specimens of its use are found in early French or Anglo-Norman 
poets, from whom it was probably adopted into this country. It be- 
came by far the most frequently employed verse in English poetry 
from the fourteenth century downmrds. It is the predominating 
metre of the " Canterbury Tales " ; and, as the influence of Chaucer is 
ever3rwhere visible in the poems of Dunbar, it may be assumed with- 
out going wide of the mark that Dunbar, if he be the author of the 

clxxvi INTllODUCTION. 

" Freiris of Berwik," wrote it on the model of the " Canterbury Tales." 
The metre was in older times called " riding rhyme/' — a name which 
Dr Guest suggests may have been derived from the mounted pilgrims 
of the " Canterbury Tales." Whether that be so or no, it became 
recognised as the appropriate measure for such stories as the " Freiris 
of Berwik.** Gascoigne, in his * Instruction concerning the making of 
Verse* (1575, ed. Haslewood, p. 12), lays it down that "this riding 
rime serueth most aptly to wryte a merie tale." It has remained to 
this day an exceptionally favoured form for narrative poems, especially 
with that school of poets who in recent times have sought to revive 
the interest in medieval subjects and artistic methods, and of whom 
Mr Swinburne and Mr William Morris may be taken as representa- 
tives. The variations from the normal standard to which it is sub- 
jected in Dunbar's hands are much the same as those exhibited in 
Chaucer. They may be shown by a detailed examination of the lines 
quoted. Thus : — 

Line i contains eleven syllables instead of the normal ten, the last 
syllable of ** happinit " not being necessary except to g^ve variety to the 
verse. The same peculiarity marks the second foot of line 2, giving 
it what is called a feminine caesura — t^., a strong pause or break after 
an unaccented syllable, and not, as in the more ordinary case, after one 
which is accented. The third foot of line 3 has a similar variation, if 
" standis " is pronounced as a dissyllable. Line 4 is like line 2. Line 
5, on the other hand, wants a syllable to complete the fourth foot. 
Probably the line is corrupt as printed. It may have been written 

regularly — 

" Quhair mony a lady bene and fair of face." 

If the reading of the Maitland MS. given by Mr Small in his footnotes 
be adopted, the line reads regularly, thus — 

" Quhair mony wourthy ladeis fair of face." 

It may be noted here that an examination of the metre of this poem 
reveals the fact that the text of the Maitland MS. is far purer (from 
this point of view) than that of the Bannatyne MS., from which Mr 
Small has printed his copy. The line at present under consideration 
is only one of many that go to show this purity. Other examples are 
present in the passage above quoted. Thus, line 12 in the Bannatyne 
MS. reads as above — 

" With strait towns and turratis he on hicht," 

wanting a syllable to complete the second foot. The Maitland MS. 
has it rhythmically and poetically better — 

'* With staiteiie towns and turratis he on hicht" 

Similarly, line 13 in the Bannatyne MS. reads — 

" The wallis wrocht omftely withaU," 

APPENDIX. Clxxvii 

wanting a syllable in the third foot The Maitland MS. gives— 

" With kirnals dosit most craftelie of all" 

This diversity of readings occurs over and over again in favour of the 
Maitland MS. throughout the poem, with so great a frequency as to 
make it matter of regret that this manuscript was not made the basis 
of the printed text Compare lines 60, 65, 68, 88, 90, 115, 146, 150, 
&c. Indeed the instances are few in which the Maitland MS. does 
not give a better reading, metrically considered, than the Bannatyne, 
while it may be noted that this refinement can be traced also in the 
omission from the Maitland of some of the obscene passages contained 
in the other MS. 

The passage cited g^ves no example of a variation seen elsewhere 
in the poem and often in Chaucer, the omission of the unaccented 
syllable from the first foot of the line. This occurs in the first line of 
the shorter poem, "In Prays of Woman " — 

" Now I of wejmen this 1 1 say | for me ; '* 

and in line 33 of the " Freiris of Berwik ** — 

" Frdr | Allaiie, | and Freir | Robert | the uder." 

For a full history and examination of this verse, see Schipper (work 
cited), p. 434 et seq., and compare Guest's 'History of English 
Rhythms ' (ed. 1882X Book III., chap. vii. A good general view of the 
change which has been brought about in the treatment of the heroic 
couplet in modem times is given by Mr Sidney Colvin in a critical 
examination of " Endymion " in his monograph on Keats. 

(b) Short Couplets. 

The heroic couplet was not so favoured a form with Dunbar as the 
short couplet of lines of four accents. The poems in this measure 
are more numerous, and they are wrought out metrically with more 
elaboration of their formal effects. These are— (i) Dunbar*s Dregy to 
the King (p. 112), with the exception of the responses; (2) the satiri- 
cal piece against the Solicitors in Court (p. 206) ; (3) Dunbar's Com- 
plaint to the King (p. 212); (4) Dunbar's Remonstrance to the King 
(p. 220). To these must be added, to make the list complete, the 
eight lines (at p. 217) in which the King gives his responsio to the 
Petition of the Gray Horse, Auld Dunbar. 

The metre in which these pieces are composed was widely popular 
in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries. It was employed 
more especially for religious poems, such as homilies, legends of the 
saints, Scriptural paraphrases, and the like. It would be familiar to 
Dunbar in the works of Barbour and Wjrntown, who have a place in 
his " Lament for the Makaris." Dunbar uses the verse, however, not as 
these writers did, for long poems of sustained narrative, but for brief 
epistolary pieces of a satirical or moralising purport In his hands, 


too, its capabilities as a means of musical expression have been largely 

The unit of this verse is a pair of lines of four iambic feet, the lines 
being undivided in themselves by any caesura (as the longer metrical 
pause falls naturally at the end of each), and joined together by a 
rhyme. For example, take lines 21 and 22 of the Remonstrance to the 
King, a poem which exhibits Dunbar's treatment of this verse in its 
most varied form — 

'* And richt I c6nven|i&it fdr | td be || 
With ^ur I high r€|gftle mfiljesae." [| 

This couplet shows the metre in its simple, normal form. The devices 
by which it is varied and moulded — ^as the admission of unaccented 
syllables superfluous to the strict metre, the omission of unaccented 
syllables necessary thereto, the shifting of the accent from its normal 
place in the foot, the occasional employment of a caesura or break with- 
in the line, and the change of the rhyme from one to two syllables — are 
lavishly exemplified in Dunbar, in whose verse the normal couplet 
never predominates. An analysis of the first twenty lines of the poem 
mentioned will make this clear : — 

*< Schir. ^ I h&ue mo|njF s&tvItoQris, 

And df|f[cifiris | df djru)£rs cQris ; 

Kirkmfin, | coQitmfin, | find cTftftis|men fyne ; 

DSctoiiris I In j&re, | ftnd mSdjIcyne ; 
5 pivin|otlris, rSthdris | ftnd phliosidpboiiris, 

AstrOI|dgis, ftrtlstis, | ftnd oiifttoGris ; 

MSn I df ftrmes, | ftnd vailj^&uid knychtis, 

And mdn|y vth|£r gud|lle wichtis ; 

Miislci|&nis, mgnstiftlis, | ftnd mir|rle sing&ris : 
10 Ch6vftl|otiTis, caljlftndftris, | ftnd flingftris ; 

CQn)Oiiris, | cftrvoiiris, | ftnd car[pSntftiis,| 

Beildftiis I df bftrkis, | ftnd bfil|Ung&ris ; 

Mftsoiinis, | lyftnd | ^^n | thS Iftnd, 

And schlp-jwilchtis hSwftnd | vpone | thfi strftnd ; 
15 Glasing I wrichtis, gdldsmjKhis, | ftnd lapjldftris, 

Pryntoflris, | pftjrntduris, | ftnd pOtjIngftris ; 

And &U I df thftir I cx&ft | dinning, 

And &U I ftt ftn|Is Iftw|bdring. 

Quhllk pleisjftnd ftr | ftnd hdnjdrable ; 
ao And td | ^ottr hlelnSs prd|fltftble." 

The great flexibility of the verse is seen in the different ways in which 
each line varies from the normal standard of four iambi. Thus, line 
I has the accent on the first syllable of the first foot instead of the 
second. The same variation is seen in line 4. In lines 3, 11, 13, and 
16, this transposition of the accent extends over the first two feet 
Line 5 is conspicuous for the number of extra unaccented syllables it 
contains. This amplification of the line is seen, though not to so great 
an extent, in lines 6, 9, 14, and 15. The converse variation, a defect 


from the ordinary number of syllables, is seen in lines 7 and 17. And 
in many of the lines the effect of a caesural pause, which was not 
often sought for in the earlier examples of this metre, is gained. It 
comes generally at the end of the second foot To use so gTeaX a 
licence of departure from the normal verse without impairing its 
rhythm — and Dunbar's verse is always musical— demands the highest 
skill in the versifier. 

For earlier examples of this metre and its history, see Schipper 
(work cited), p. 258. 

III.— Pieces in Strophic Form. 

Nearly the whole body of Dunbar's poetry is written in a strophic 
form ; and as the strophe was the most highly artificial development 
to which English versification had attained in his time, the fact is 
evidence of the specially formal excellence which characterises 
Dunbar's poems as a whole as well as individually. And the 
strophes in which he writes are not the simple strophes of popular 
poetry, but the more elaborate forms seen in courtly and scholarly 

The strophe, as it occurs in Dunbar, may be defined as a series of 
lines bound together into a distinct unity by means of rhyme, and 
(although this is only generally true) by the content of the logical 
period to which the lines g^ve expression. The lines which make up 
the strophe are subject to internal variations of accent, syllabification, 
and caesura, similar to those noted in considering the couplet ; and 
the points specially to be kept in view in examining the strophe are 
the number and length of the lines, the number and arrangement of 
the rhymes, and the presence or absence of a refrain — f>., a line which 
recurs in the same or similar terms at the end of every strophe. 

The simplest division of Dunbar's pieces in strophic form separates 
(A) strophes made up of lines of equal length from (B) strophes of 
unequal lines. The former class may be subdivided into (i) strophes 
without refrain, and (2) strophes with refrain. 

A (i.) — Strophes of Equal Lines without Refrain, 

First, there is the strophe of five lines with two rhymes, arranged 
thus — ao, bb^tu As an example, take the first strophe of the lines " To 
a Lady" (p. 223):— 

5 "Sweet foissofvertew and of gentlbMJ, a 

5 Ddytsmn lyllie of everie lustyiMj, a 

5 Richest in bonde, and in bewtie clbir, b 

5 And everie veitew that is held most deix, b 

5 ExoqH onlie that )e ar mercyiSuj.'* a 

This is in lines of five feet The other pieces in the same long line 


are—*' How Dumbar wcs desyrd to be ane Freir" (p. 131), (although 

the first line of this piece wants a foot) ; ** Lucina schynnyng in silence 

of the nicht " (p. 149). and " The Dream " (p. 257). The same strophe 

in lines of four iambi is used in the following : " To the King, quhen 

mony benefices vakit '* (p. 205) ; ** Of the changes of Lyfe " (p. 232) ; 

" Meditatioun in Wyntir " (p. 233) ; " My heid did Jak 3estemicht " 

(p. 254) ; and " My Lordis of Chacker " (p. 255). As an example of 

the four-foot line, the first strophe of the piece last mentioned may 

serve : — 

4 *' My Lor)dis of Chack|er, pleis | ^dw td Msir a 

4 My coumpt, I sail it mak )ow cUir^ a 

4+ Bat ony dronmstanoe or SON^IB ; b 

4+ For left is nether corce nor CUN^IE b 

4 Off aU that I tuik in the ^>." a 

Guest gives this strophe the name of roundle-stavet because it 
appears twice in the old French rondel. Schipper treats it as a 
development by the omission of a line from the strophe of six lines, 
exemplified in Dunbar's "Petition of the Gray Horse" (p. 215), to be 
afterwards examined. See Guest, p. 644 et seq.j Schipper, p. 377. 

Second, there is the strophe of seven five-foot lines with three 
rhymes, arranged according to the scheme ab, ab^ bcc. This is a 
form very largely exemplified in English poetry from Dunbar's time 
downwards ; and though his own poems give only five instances of 
its use, the importance and technical superiority of the pieces show 
the measure to have been a favourite one with Dunbar. These ^S9, 
pieces are— <i) "The Thistle and the Rose" (p. 183); (2) "To a 
Ladye " (p. 245) ; the single stanza, " Quhat is this Lyfe " (p. 250) ; 
the " Ballate against Evil Women " (p. 266), the last strophe of which, 
the envoy, has, it may be noted, an additional line ; and the piece 
beginning " O synfull man, thir ar the fourty dayis " (p. 280). The 
first strophe of " The Thistle and the Rose " may be taken as an 
example of this form : — 

5 "Quhen Merche wes with variand windis/oj/ a 

5 And Appryll had, with hir siluer SCHOURIS. b 

5 Tane leif at nature with ane orient blast ; a 

5 And lusty May, that mvddir is of flouris, b 

5 Had maid the birdis to begyn thair HOURis b 

5 Amang the tendir odouris reid and quhyt^ c 

5 Quhois armony to heir it wes delyt.*' c 

This is the measure known as rhyme-royal since James I. wrote the 
" Kingis Quair." The earliest known instance of its use in English 
poetry is in Chaucer's " Complaint of the Dethe of Pitd." It was 
largely employed by Chaucer (it is the metre of four of the " Canterbury 
Tales"), Gower, and Lydgate, from whom in all probability Dunbar 
adopted it It remained after Dunbar's time one of the most im- 
portant forms. Spenser and Shakespeare used it, and in Scotland Sir 
David Lyndsay exemplifies it often. Gascoigne, in his ' Notes of 


Instruction ' (ed. Arber, p. 38}, thus describes the measure : *' Rythme 
royall is a verse of tenne sillables, and seuen such verses make a 
stkffc, whereof the first and third lines do aunswer (acrosse) in like 
terminations and rime; the second, fourth, and fifth do likewise 
answere eche other in terminations, and the two last do combine and 
shut up the sentence : this hath bene called rithme royall, and surely 
it is a royall kinde of verse, seruing best for graue discourses." To a 
similar effect regarding the merits of this metre speaks Mr Coventry 
Patmore (work cited, p. 260) : " Perhaps the stateliest and most 
truly heroic measure in any language, dead or living, is the ' rhythm 
royal,' a stanza of seven ten-syllable lines, with three sets of rhymes 
so distributed that the emphasis derived from rhyme, in one part, is 
exactly neutralised by a similar concentration upon another.*' See 
further Guest, pp. 638, 639 ; Schipper, p. 426. Schipper lays it down 
as probable that this strophe was developed by the omission of a line 
from the eight-lined form next to be considered. 

Third, the strophe of eight five-foot lines with three rhymes thus 
arranged— a^, a b, be, be, Dunbar is fondest of this strophe, with the 
added ornament of a refrain. Of the simple form, without refrain, he 
g^ves only one example, "The Flyting between Dunbar and Kennedy" 
(p. 11); although the fragmentary verses beginning "In all oure 
gardyn" (p. 321), and attributed to Dunbar, are in this strophe. 
A sample strophe may be taken from " The Flyting " : — 

5 " Fonronhin fule, of all the warld rtSuse, a 

5 Qohat feriy is thocht thow reioys to flyte ? b 

5 Sic eloquence as thay in Erschry vse, a 

5 In sic is sett thy thraward appervTE ; b 

5 Thow hes foil littill feill of Cedr inDTTE : b 

5 I tak on me ane pair of Lowthiane hippis c 

5 Sail iaiiar IngUs mak, and mair parFTTE, b 

5 Than thow can blabbar with thy Carrik lippis" c 

This strophe is chosen from the second of the parts of the poem by 
Dunbar in order to exhibit the arrangement of rhymes as Dunbar 
usually employed it — ab, ab, be, be. This order is kept up in the poem 
by Dunbar throughout, except in the three opening stanzas, where 
the arrangement is one of close rhyme in the second half of the 
strophe, thus : ab, aby be, eb, — an order which Kennedy maintains 
throughout his sections of the poem : e^., the second quartet of the 
first strophe by Kennedy runs — 

5 " Mandiag, mymmerkin, maid malster hot in Mowis, b 

5 Thryse scheild trumpir, with ane thrdd hair goun, c 

5 Say Deo mercy, or I can cry the doun, c 

And leif thy ryming, rebald, and thy Rowis." b 

The " Flyting " is especially worthy of notice in a study of the formal 
aspects of Dunbar's poems, inasmuch as the respective combatants 
who strive to outdo each other in invective, strive also each to exhibit 


a superiority over the other in the technical skill of his craft Dun- 
bar opens the contest with three strophes of excellent structure, but 
revealing no particular effort on the part of the poet to give them ex- 
ceptional formal polish or adornment Kennedy answers with three 
strophes similar in every respect, save that there is to be traced in his 
lines a more obvious striving after ornamental effects of alliteration 
than was manifested by Dunbar. It may easily be assumed that this 
peculiarity put Dunbar on his mettle, for in the following strophes 
from his hand alliteration is introduced into the already complex and 
difficult rhyming verse with a profusion and ease which show the 
hand of a master. The second strophe on p. 17 is as good^an instance 
of this ostentatious display of alliteration as can be found in the 


" A^yse nagus nipcaik, with thy schulderis narrow, 
Thow Aikis lowsy, /bun of /bwnis aw ; 
l/aid iturcheoan, Airpland, ilippit as ane Harrow, 

Thy figbane rattillis, and Uiy ribbis on raw, 
Thy Aanchis ilirklis, with Aukebanis Majth and Aaw, 
Thy Authly /ymis ar /ene as ony treis ; 

03ey, theif ^aird, or I sail ^k thy gaw, 
FTowl ourybald, ny mercy on thy ihkds." 

Even this free and copious use of alliteration in a strophe already 
complete without that device did not exhaust the technical resources 
of the poet In the two concluding strophes he introduced no less 
than three internal rhymes in each line of the strophe. The allitera- 
tion is, of course, dropped ; but the diversity g^ven to the form of the 
stanza by this device is a unique and masterly effect It is best ex- 
hibited by breaking up the strophe into as many lines as there are 
rhymes, thus (to take the last strophe by Dunbar) : — 

" Mauch muttoun, 
Vyle buttoun 
Pdlit gluttoun 

Air to Hilkouse; a 
Rank beggar, 
Ostir dregar, 
Foule fleggar, 

In the FLET ; b 

Ruch rilling, 
Lik schilling 

In the milhouse; a 
Baird rehator, 
Theif of notour, 
Fals tratour, 

Feyndis gett ; b 

Filling of tauch, 
Rak sauch, 
Cry crauch, 

Thow art our sett ; b 

APPENDIX. dxxxiii 

Mnttonn dzyrer, 
Gtrnall lyver, 

FowU/iri/ tJU. c 


Caitingis PET. b 


Or I san fiuU iAe." c 

The skill of the virtuoso could hardly make more than this of the 
strophe of eight lines from which Dunbar started. Kennedy en- 
deavours to follow him, but seems to find it too hard. His alliteration 
is neither so profuse nor so regular as Dunbar's ; and when he intro- 
duces internal rhymes in the lines, it is timidly and tentatively {cf. 
lines 481 ^^493^^.) only to drop the device till the concluding strophe; 
in which, indeed, he succeeds in inserting his three rhymes after 
Dunbar's model, but without Dunbar's force and effect He may 
have felt the weakness himself, for he introduces a further device to 
give brilliancy to his verse, the use of Latin. It may be that the Latin 
was resorted to in order to find feminine rhymes — a diflScult thing to 
do in addition to so many other technical difficulties ; but Dunbar 
had succeeded in finding them in his own less inflected tongue. If 
the colophon to the poem, ^ luge Je now heir quha gat the war," is to 
be answered by a consideration of the formal merits of the several 
poets, there need be no hesitation in assigning the palm to Dunbar. 
For early examples of this measure, see Guest, p. 635 sq. ; Schipper, 
p. 42S. 

Fourth, the strophe of nine five-foot lines with two rhymes, used 
only once by Dunbar in the "Goldyn Targe" (p. i). The rhyme 
scheme is aa ^, aa ^, ba b^ as seen in the first strophe : — 

5 " Rygfat as the stem of day b^goath to sckput a 

5 Qaben gone to bed war Vesper and Xjocynt a 

5 I raise, and by a rosere did me rkst ; b 

5 Wp sprang the goldyn candill niatn/|r»« a 

5 With dere depnrit hemes cristall/M, a 

5 dadfaig the mery foolis in thair nbst ; b 

5 Or Phdms was in. parpnr ci^ revKST b 

5 Wp raise the lark, the herynsmenstraleyjwr a 

5 In May, in till a morow myrthfollEST." b 

Chaucer uses this strophe in ^ Queen Anelida and False Arcyte," and 
it was probably from Chaucer that Dunbar adopted it 

It should be noted that the last strophe of the " Goldyn Targe " is 
an etivoy or postscript appended to the main body of the poem, after 


a fashion popular among French poets, and followed occasionally by 
Chaucer. See Schipper, p. 334 sq. 

To complete the list of strophes in equal lines and without refrain 
employed by Dunbar, there is the strophe of eight four-foot lines 
with four rhymes, which occurs in only one piece, " The Testament of 
Mr Andro Kennedy" (p. 54). The rhyme scheme is ab, ab, cd^ cd, as 
in this strophe : — 

4 + " Ipse est dulcis ad amandum, a 

4 He wald oft ban me in his breith, fi 

4+ Det michi modo adpotandum, a 

4 And I forgif him laith et wraith : b 

4+ Quia in cellario cum cervisia, c 

4 I had lever lye baith air and lait, d 

4+ Nudus solus in camesia^ c 

4 Na in my Lordis bed of stait ; " — d 

though occasionally the rhymes are restricted to two— abab, abab — 
as in strophes i and 11, or to three — ab^ ab^ ac, ac — as in strophe 9. 

A (2.) — Strophes of Equal Lines with Refrain, 

The strophic form, it has been said, was especially favoured by 
Dunbar, nearly all his poetry being written in that shape. The still 
more complex form of the strophe with a constantly recurring refrain, 
which involves a greater versatility in the handling of the same rhyme 
than the simple strophe demands, was his favourite style of strophe, 
for nearly two- thirds of his strophic pieces have a refrain. The law 
of the refrain followed by Dunbar may be stated simply as enjoining 
that the closing verse of every strophe shall be the same. This, of 
course, makes it necessary that all those verses which rhyme with the 
closing verse in the strophe should rhyme with each other throughout 
the whole poem. Accordingly, as one of the technical triumphs of a 
poet is to find a wealth of rhymes, the number of strophes in each of 
the pieces in this form should be noted in addition to the length of 
the line and the number of rhymes in the strophe ; for, by using a re- 
frain, the poet overcomes an ever-increasing formal difficulty with 
each stanza he adds to his poem. The refrain was an early ornament 
of popular poetry, in which it seems first to have arisen, and to have 
come into artistically wrought verse through ecclesiastical chants. 
Dunbar uses it in six different strophes of equal lines. 

I. The strophe of two couplets in four-foot lines, — Dunbar has a good 
number of examples of this form. The best known is the " Lament 
for the Makaris" (p. 48), which exhibits its simple and effective struc- 
ture well. Take the fifth and sixth strophes as an example — 

4 •* Onto the ded gois all Estfl/w, a 

4 Princis, Prelotis, and Potest^//j, a 

4 Baith riche et pur of all deCRE ; b 

R. 4 Timor Mortis coniurbat VL^. b 


4 He talds the knychtis in to ieild^ a 

4 Aoannit vnder helme et schtild/ a 

4 V^ctoor he is at all melk / b 

R. 4 Timor Mortis amiurbat UeJ' b 

This is the Old French verse-form, the Kyrielle. The rules of its 
structure are laid down at once by precept and example in Theodore 
de Bauville's lines : — 

** Qui yoadra S9avoir la pratique 

De cette rime juridiqne, 

Je dis que bien mise en effet 

La Kyrielle ainsi se fait. 

De plante de sillabes huit 

Uses en done si bien voos doit ; 

Pour £ure le couplet parfoit 

La Kyrielle ainsi se fieut." 

The pieces for which it is chosen by Dunbar may be enumerated in 

the order of their extent, the longer ones coming first The list begins 

with two of equal length — *^ The Lament for the Makaris " (p. 48), and 

the Complaint to the King " Of the Warldis Instabilitie** (p. 226), each 

of which extends to twenty-five strophes. The piece beginning " Ffre- 

dome, honour and nobilnes" (p. 158) has eleven strophes. Three 

pieces are written in ten stanzas each — "All Erdly Joy retumis in 

Pane" (p. 76), "The Amendis to the Tel^uris and Sowtaris" (p. 127), 

and the piece b^inning ''Man, sen thy lyfe is ay in weir" (p. 152}. 

Two are in eight strophes each — " To the King, that he war Johne 

Thomsounis Man " (p. 218), and the " Welcome to the Lord Treasurer " 

(p. 264). The two addresses to the Queen, " Of James Dog " (p. 195), 

and " Of the same James '* (p. 197), and the piece attributed to Dunbar 

— " Gif je wald lufe and luvit be ** (p. 312) — have each six stanzas. One 

piece in five strophes, ** A New Year's Gift to the King " (p. 256), and 

one in four (with, however, the last line repeated at the end of the 

poem), the piece beginning " Now fayre, fayrest ofiF every fayre " (p. 279), 

complete the list 

2. The strophe of five lines and two rhymes, — There are eighteen 

pieces using this form with the four-foot line, which plainly suited it 

best in Dunbar's fancy. These two stanzas may be taken as a 

sample : — 

" Off every asking followis nockt a 

Rewaird, hot gif sum caus war wrochi; a 

And quhair causs is, men weill ma sib, b 

And quhair nane is, it wilbe tkockt a 

In asking sowld discretioun be. b 

Ane lule, thocht he haif causs or nane, a 

Cryis ay, Gif me, in to a drene; a 

And he that dronis ay as ane bee b 

Sowld haif ane heirar dull as stane : a 

In asking sowld discretioun be." b 


The scheme of rhymes here, it will be seen, is aa, babj and this, 
taken in conjunction with the fact of the presence of the refrain, ex- 
plains the origin of the strophe. It is clearly an adaptation of that 
five-lined strophe called by Guest the roundle-stave (and already ex- 
amined), whose rhyme scheme is aa, bba. The change of the b rhyme 
from the close one to an interwoven one made it possible to keep up a 
refrain on the b rhyme, which occurs only twice in the strophe ; while 
the a rhyme, which concludes the form of the strophe which has no 
refrain, occurs three times. The pieces written in this form are, again 
in order of length — 

" This nycht in my sleip I wes agast " (p. 144). 
'* Quhome to sail I complene my wo " (p. 100). 
'* Schir, 3it remembir as of befoir " (p. 104). 

\ Of Discredoun in Geving (p. 87). 

.' <' Musing allone this hinder nicht " (p. 9a). 

*' How sowld I rewill me, or quhat wyiss " (p. 95). 

' Of Discretionn in Taking (p. 90). 

*' In Asking sowld Discretioun be " (p. 84). 

i « • Full oft I mvss and hes in thocht " (p. no). 

' " Sanct Saluatour I send siluer sorrow " (p. 129). 

To the Quene (p. 203). n 

Of Content (p. 330). it „ 

'* Fane wald I Inve. bot quhair abowt " (attributed, p. 308). %% n 

" Faine wald I, with all diligence " (attributed, p. 310). h „ 

" Rycht airlie on Ask Weddinsday " (p. 160). Six n 

To the King (p. 208). ,t 

' ' He that hes gold and grit richess " (p. 134). Five 

Of ane Blak-Moir (p. 201). » 

Twenty-one strophes. 





















The piece beginning "Devorit with dreme" (p. 81) exhibits the 
outward form of this strophe in five-foot lines, as it is printed in Mr 
Small's text But by a free use of internal rhymes, Dunbar has con- 
siderably complicated the structure of the strophe. This intricacy is 
best exhibited by printing a stanza — take the first on p. 82 as an ex- 
ample—with the rhymes displayed at the ends of the lines :— 

2 * ^ Sz. mony lordis, a 

3 So mony natural! fulis, b 

2 That better accordis a 

3 To play thame at the trulis, b 

2 Nor seiss the dulis b 

3 That commonis dois sustene ; c 

2 New tane fra sculis, b 

3 Sa mony anis and mvlis b 
R. 5 Within this land was nevir hard nor sene." c 

3. The strophe of seven lines and three rhymes, — This occurs in 
Dunbar only in four-foot lines, and with the scheme of the rhymes 
arranged aa, bb^ cbc. Thus : — 

APPENDIX. clxxxvii 

4 " Ane mvrlandis man of vplandis maJk a 

4 At hame thns to his nychtboor spaJt, a 

4 'Quhattydingisgossep, peaxorwEis?' b 

4 The tother rownlt in his Eis, b 

4+ ' I tdl )ow this vndir confessumn, c 

4 Bot laitly lichtit of my MEIR, b 

4+ I come of Edinborch fra the Sessioun.* " c 

Dunbar employs this strophe in the five following pieces: "The 
Wowing of the King quhen he wes in Dumfermeling," ten strophes 
(p. 136); "Tidings from the Session," eight strophes (p. 78); "In 
secreit place this hyndir nycht," nine strophes (p. 247) ; " Of a Dance 
in the Quenis Chalmer/' seven strophes (p. 199) ; and the " Complaint 
to the King aganis Mure,** four strophes (p. 210). 

Guest (p. 650) treats this stave as an elaboration of that form which 
he calls the roundle-stave (and which has already been examined) 
by the prefixing of a couplet But examples of a seven-lined strophe 
in this metre occur (though not in Dunbar) with the rhymes arranged 
ab, ad, cdc, which points to the conclusion that the strophe had an 
independent formation. See Schipper, p. 416. 

4. Th^ strophe of eight lines with three rhymes, abab, bcbc. — This 
is Dunbar's most favoured form for short pieces of a heroic or festal 
character. It is the form by far most frequently exemplified in the 
body of his poetry that has been preserved. Dunbar has this form 
both in four-foot and five-foot lines, though the pieces in the latter 
measure are much the more numerous. Those in the four-foot line 
are the long poem of fifteen strophes beginning " Sen that I am a 
presoneir** (p. 164), the first strophe of which, however, has only two 
rhymesi thus — abab, abab ; the " Ballat of the Passioun of Christ " 
(p. 239), a piece in eighteen strophes, but made up, so far as its form 
is concerned, of two separate pieces with independent refrains, one 
constant to eleven and the other to six strophes^ and of a strophe with- 
out a refrain introductory to the whole piece ; the poem " Doun by ane 
rever as I red " (p. 505) attributed to Dunbar, and extending to ten 
strophes; and three pieces which have this special peculiarity, that 
their refrains are in Latin, borrowed probably from the mass, *^ Rorate 
celi desuper" (p. 72), seven strophes; '^ Memento, homo, quod cinis 
es " (p. 74), six strophes ; and the attributed piece, " Jerusalem reioss 
for joy" (p. 322X extending to five strophes. 

There are twenty pieces in the same form in a five-foot line. Ballads 
of ^st, strophes occur oftenest among these. Such are — 

*' Hermes the Philosopher " (p. zo8). 

' ' Surrezit Dominns de Sepiilchio " (p. 154). 

'* Done is a Battdl 00 the Dragon Blak " (p. 156). 

" Ane Orisoim" (p. 335). 

*' We Lordis hes cbosin a chiftane mervellns" (p. 237). 

** Gladetbe thone Qnejme of Scottis regioun " (p. 274). 




" Now glaidith eoery liffis creature " (p. 324). 

'* O lusty flour of ^wth " (p. 326). 

" The sterae is rissm of our Redemptioun " (p. 328). 

The remaining pieces in this form are — 

*' I cry The mercy, and lasar to repent " (p. 65). Twenty-one strophes. 
" In May as that Aurora did vpspring" (p. 174). ^ 
"The Ballad of Lord Bernard Stewart, Lord of 

Aubigny"(p. 59). Twelve » 

•« Blyth Aberdein " (p. 251). Nine n 

' ' London, thou art of townes A per se *' (p. 276). Seven n 

** To dwell in Court, my frdnd " (p. 98). Six h 

** Roiss Mary most of vertew virginall " (p. 272). Six ti 

*' Elegy on the Death of Bernard Stewart " (p. 63). Four ti 

" Be 3e ane Luvar, think ^ nocht Je suld " (p. 162). Three 

*' Learning vain without guid Lyfe " (p. 224). Three 

*' O wreche, be war" (p. 244). Three 

This form is no doubt a free adaptation of the French ballade^ in 
which was cast most of the poetry of that trio of French singers who 
were representative of their craft in Dunbar's own time — Charles of 
Orleans, Ren^ Duke of Anjou, and Francois Villon. Dunbar's " bal- 
lades " (to g^ve them that name) are not so strict in form as the French 
poems, which consisted of three strophes each and a half strophe or 
envoy, the rhyme scheme being the same as Dunbar's but the rhymes 
of the first strophe being repeated throughout the whole of the poem. 
Dunbar changes a series of rhymes in each strophe, and never uses 
the " envoy " with this form. 

King James, in his ' Reulis and Cautelis of Scottis Poesie * (ed. 
Haslewood, p. 114), calls this form the Ballot Royaly and recom- 
mends it *' for any heich and graue subjectis, specially drawin out of 
leamit authouris." 

5. The strophe of six four-foot lines with two rhymes, aaa, bbb, ex- 
emplified in only two pieces by Dunbar — the " Petition of the Gray 
Horse" (p. 215), containing eleven strophes, and the piece beginning, 
** Now culit is dame Venus brand " (p. 179), extending to fifteen. The 
refrain here is a couplet, which forms an appendage to the strophe, 
like the " tail '* of the verse in the *' rime coude^ to be afterwards 


4 " Now culit is dame Venus brand; a 

4 Trew luvis fyre is ay kindil/aiMf, a 

4 And I begyn to yn'djxstand, a 

4 In feynit luve quhat foly bene : b 

4 Now cumis aige quhair ^ewth hes bene, b 

4 And trew luve rysis fro the spLENE." b 

— See Schipper, p. 377. 

1 A piece of fifteen strophes in all, but with alternate, and not, as in the usual 
case, constant refiains, dividing the piece into sections of six and eight strophes 

APPENDIX. clxxxix 

6. To complete the list of strophes of equal lines, with refrain, 
used by Dunbar, account must be taken of the " responses " in " The 
Dregy " (pp. 1 13, 1 14). Schipper treats the second of these (p. 382) as a 
six-line strophe, consisting of a "head " and a "tail," like the pieces 
in tail-rhyme to be afterwards examined. But neither of the other 
responses has the final couplet, which is not an integral part of the 
strophe in which these are written. It is a well-known French eight- 
line strophe, and should be printed so : — 

2 "God and Sanct Jeill, a 

2 Heir yow convoT d 
a Baith sone and weill, a 

3 God and Sanct yeiJL a 
2 To sonoe and still, a 
2 Solace and jot, b 
2 God and Sanct Geill a 
2 Heir ^w oonvoT." b 

This strophe answers the description of the "Triolet" of modem 
French verse-writers, g^ven by Mr Austin Dobson (in the Essay 
appended to * Latter-Day Lyrics,' London, 1878): "The modem 
Triolet consists of eight lines with two rhymes. The first pair of 
lines are repeated as the seventh and eighth, while the first is repeated 
as the fourth. The order of rhymes is thus as follows — ab^ iuui, bitbJ* 
Mr Dobson g^ves an instance of its use from Menage's " King of 
Triolets," Jacques Ranchin, which is in four-foot iambic lines, an 
easier form than the two-foot of Dunbar's examples. 

Guest, whose notice this form, as exemplified in English verse, seems 
to have escaped, quotes (p. 647} from 'Le Jardin de Plaisance,' a 
French *Ars Poetica' of the fifteenth century, this example of the 
strophe, which then was known as a " common rondeau** : — 

" Ainsi se font communs rondeaulz, 
Ne plus ne moins que cestuy d, 
Tant de vont que de yont deaux. 
Ainsi se font communs rondeaulx. 
Plusieuis gentils et mains bourdeaux 
Faillent silz ne font par tel cy, 
Ainsi se font communs londeaubc, 
Ne phis ne moins que cestuy d." 

^.— Stkophes in Lines of Unequal Length. 

(i.) Strophes in Tatl-rhpne, 

Tail-riiymey versus caudatus, rime-cauie, is a name g^ven to a form 
of verse which seems to have originated in the Latin lyrical poetry of 
the Church, to have passed thence through Latin popular poetry into 
the vernacular verse of England and France, in both of which 
countries it became a much favoured form for popular poetry. (See 


^tn-ii-^^Tiw X. SS- ^^ 3<^ rimnnmrng aLXimut: <if Bos ilffmBifiuJ cDciB.) 
Ix 3B fiinQueaii &C1C ids srrpde in: SBinaniiK {zanamos «f sbk IIbcs^ 

(fisriaffiur oxoi* ishrx astsons <if^ lju'iil 1th*t tfiHTTf; uQk ifrnr (bbia Sbcs crf^ 
CSK& « w^ i 3w m - i ii r i in ^ t^ ••'Tifffif.'' ami gawumui; mynAm ; t&c 

SBCCnn;. aii£ tse ^trmywi^ <]£ ujifiniK.'v lAmv Ifenn, 'Aat*. t::jx. T&c Bbc erf* 
oas 13eI is in oc tnrfh^^r 'Sarms^ liiiir j H! ov- <iiik amc t&azi c&e besof 

Sz-'niaiiSBXaccaa-'*^';^ o^z)):: — 

^ i^iifiBu 'luftwr wts 3ns (Tiii'iiinf .J^im^ u h ^ 

4: SsimiifiBr^iaffaie^tice vttQMB; >r)^ 

tfmmnnn thniL. £1: is tn ae naoBEi.. &uwever, c&at Oon&ar uses 
sonpiie: sLcuyiie ctniT ox c&e uue ^oon: just C!TBrf> Ss piigiifiv nn 
DiLyuie 2ZS fiscc&iet mxsat port nt c&c nmE&eiuQuialKaoii Dzobt c&swfio^ped 
fimns of tfxe smsp&s. 

c la. npa paemsv '^Tlxe Dttrrre of c&e Seviir DesET %tiiiss* 
(^ CC7, anf ''^Tte Txrnamenc'* {-^ c^v ^ ^laes the aiLii|ift e ^ 
cwove Imes made n^ of cwa of me ampier sonpixes Hiat oenxgirfiedL 
che build of canneaiatt bemg. the rimne of cite omr ttwT-^lmg^ wftadk 
rttTine rnanhrr, sa mac che sdusne is jc^. . .:ri. tiuj. <iti&. Tlms^ 

4 ' Off ?<ei3r3sir ±e ^rifiBK >«««; ^ 

4 Fiji iflng sesbir the iayis .JHcir. x 

3 C lo^ 31 3il X T3.k9CS : > 

4 .^od rfwm L sw sitii hevnx imi «a/ . 

4 ICe drndsz, juuaui^ ±x: teymzis /stZ. <; 

J Mahaan. ^srt -sr jx&s datics. > 

4 Off idnewig that tpct aevir achr g mj t, .^ 

4 >gmi«Bf die fest of ?aseznis- ^an/s ^ 

J T J mak rhair jisserv.wvcs ; > 

4 He bad jnilamtiff ^pi ^nuth x ^t*^* >f 

4 Jimi ids TD ^Tunmimis jx the jjtvtis t[ 

J T!iat -ast rune out jt ?3-4,:m:s. * > 

Tliis is the orst 5tnphe at me " Dance.*' Althaugh p rinted ut Xr 
Smail'* text tnainiy in fectians n ax 'ines» in examinanon of the verse 
will show that the atrnphe is n^aily one at twelve lintfs> both the 
rhyine 3xid che laijicii icricnir? n che ^encds involving i straphic 
STTuirure of twelve lines. There ire, however, rvQ suppiemenciry (it 
may be, interpoiated'. itnpnes zt six lines each at Lines i> and 105 
napecnveiy ; but che longer r'ann is constant dirouj^h che rest of the 
2. The ample strophe 01' six lines ^^as developed into one at eight 


by adding another line to the " head/* rhyming with the others, so 
that the scheme of rhymes was aaab, cccb; and by doubling this into 
a strophe of sixteen lines, rhyming aaab, cccb, dddb, eeeb, Dunbar 
gets the form used in the two pieces, the ** Fenjeit Freir of Tung- 
land" (p. 139) and the " Droichis part of the Play" (p. 314). In the 
former piece, the first and last strophe is extended to twenty-four lines 
by keeping up the same rhyme in the tail-lines through another half- 
strophe. In the latter piece, the examination of the verse shows that 
in Mr Small's text one of the strophes has got broken up and its parts 
set out of place. Lines 1 13-120 should be transferred to the place now 
occupied bylines 129-136. 

3. In the foregoing examples of this form, the head-lines are of four 
and the tail-lines of three feet. Another development was attained by 
changing this normal relation in the length of the lines. Dunbar has 
single instances of two separate developments of this kind. In the 
first, the piece beginning " Quha will behald of luve the chance " (p- 
172), written in a strophe of eight lines, the tail-line is shortened into 
two feet, thus : — 

4 " Qaha will behald of lave the ^\ance, a 
4 With swdt dissanyng oxxosAtnanctt a 
4 In quhais fair dissimvi^ix^ a 

2 May none assuRB ; b 

4 Quhilk is begun with mconstaKce, a 

4 And endis nocht but vSLriancet a 

4 Scho haldis with contintaaxf^ a 

a No scherurruRE.** b 

This piece, it should be remarked, continues the same rhymes 
throughout its three strophes, so that its form is something more than 
mere tail-rhyme — approaching nearly to that of the old French 

In the other piece, "Thir Ladyis fair" (p. 168), Dunbar gives an 
instance of tail-rhyme in a strophe of twelve lines rhymed aab, aab^ 
ccd, ccd, in which the lines of the " head " are shortened to two feet, 
and those of the ''tail" extended to four. Dr Small has printed this 
piece in sections of eight equal lines, but it is properly a strophe of 
twelve unequal lines, thus : — 

a " Thir ladyisy&»r a 

a That makis xtpair, a 

4 And in the court ar kend, b 

a Thre dayis tkair, a 

a Thay wiQ do mdir, a 

4 Ane mater for till end, b 

a Than thair gud men, c 

a Will do in ten, c 

4 For ony craft thay can, d 

2 So weiU thay ken, c 

a Qohat tyme and qmken, c 

4 Thair menes thay sowldmak THAN." d 


(2.) Strophes with a Wheel, 

The " wheel ** is the name used by Dr Guest (p. 572 et seg,) con- 
veniently to describe a metrical device whereby the strophe was 
developed into a more complex form than a mere combination of 
equal lines joined together by rhyme. He explains the term as de- 
noting the return at the close of each strophe of some marked and 
peculiar rhythm. To illustrate it by an example from Dunbar, who 
only seldom uses it, take the first strophe of " The Ballad of K]rnd 
Kittok " (p. 52) :— 

** My Gudame wes a^y wif, hot scho wes rycht ^end* a 

Scho dudt/urthyte in to /Yanoe, apon ^klklandyisllis ; i 

Thay odlit her ATynd Alttok, quhasa hir weill /tend : a 

Scho wes like a oddrone ^mke der vnder ieUis ; b 

Thay Mrvpit that scho deit of tkrisXt et maid a gad end. a 

Efter hir <fede. scho dSredit nought in hevin for to dot^; b 

And sa to Aevin the ilieway dreidless scho wend, a 

Jit scho teanderit. and ^d by to ane elriche weU. b 

3 Scho met thar, as I wnu c 

3 Ane ask rydand on a snaiix, d 

3 Et cryit, ' Oortane Dsdlow. haill 1' d 

3 And raid ane inche behind the taill, d 

3 Till it wes neir tvin,^ e 

The last four lines make up the wheel — ^the line which introduces 
them and rhymes with the last line of the wheel being called the 
" bob " or ** bob-line," and the combination of all five lines the " bob- 
wheel " (see Guest, p. 620 sq,) This bob-wheel, then, consists of five 
iambic lines of three accents, each rhymed cdddc. The strophe to 
which it is appended combines eight of the alliterative lines of the 
older poetry by rhymes interwoven thus, ababy abab. This combina- 
tion of alliteration, rhyme, and wheel was early introduced in Scottish 
poetry. The " Pystyll of Susan" (about 1350) is in this form (the 
only difference being that the bob-line has but one accent) ; and in 
" Sir Gawayn and the Grene Knight " — probably an earlier piece — a 
similar bob-wheel is used to divide into strophes of irregular length a 
poem in unrhymed alliterative verse. To this kind of verse King 
James (work cited, p. 115) applies the name Rouncefcdlis^ or Tumbling 
verse, and recommends it for " Flyting or Invectives." 

In only one other poem by Dunbar is this device exemplified in its 
oldest form of a wheel of three rhyming lines with a tail-line. This 
is the piece beginning "In vice most vicius he excellis" (p. 190). 
The strophe is made up of a couplet of iambic lines with four accents 
and a wheel, the tail of which rhymes with the couplet, according to 
the scheme aa^ bbb, a. Thu< 

1 Pronounced e'en. 

APPENDIX. cxciii 

4 " In vice most vicius he exce/Iis, a 

4 That with the vice of tressone mel/ts ; a 

3+ Thocht he reMissiouN, i 

3+ Half for proDissioUN, 6 

2+ Schame and susspissioun ^ 

3 Ay with him dtoeilis" a 

To complete the list of the strophic forms used by Dunbar, account 
must be taken of two others which combine in a curious way the 
effects of the refrain and the wheel. The first is the " Satire on 
Edinburgh" (p. 261), written in a strophe of seven lines, six of which 
are four-foot iambics, and one, the fifth, a two-foot with trochaic 
substitution in the first foot, its brevity giving it the effect of a bob-line 
The rhyme scheme is aaad, dad. Thus — 

4 "Quhy will ^, merchantis of remmM, a 
4 Lat Edinburgh, ^our nobill iann, a 
4 For laik of nionnsJiouH a 
4 The commone proffeitt tyine and fame ? i 

R. 3 Think ^e nocht schame, 6 

4 That onie vther legioun a 

R. 4 Sail with dishonour hurt ^onr NAME 1** b 

The fifth and seventh lines are constant (with only unimportant 
variations) as a refrain through the eleven strophes of the poem. 
The sixth line varies in each, so that the last three lines form a tail 
combining the characteristics both of the wheel and the refrain. 

The other poem which exhibits a similar structure is " Ane Ballat 
of Our Lady " (p. 269). This is in a twelve-line strophe made up of 
two parts, the first containing eight iambic lines alternately four and 
three foot ; and the second consisting of a refrain in Latin (which, 
however, does not rhyme with any other line in the strophe) intro- 
ducing a wheel of three lines in the measure of the first part The 
rhymes of the strophe are peculiar. The general scheme is abab, abab 
in the first part, and bob in the second. This is the order of the end 
rhymes ; but the lines of the a series have each two internal a rhymes, 
after the fashion already exemplified in the " Flyting," so as to make 
the strophe one of highly artificial structure. The first strophe may 
be taken to show this : — 

4 " Haile, st/rji« sup^nf^ ! Haile, in et^m^, <icui 

3 In Godis sicht to schyne I b 

4 \jsictme in d<rM, for to discenu aaa 

3 Be glory and grace devYNE ; b 

4 Hodum, moderM, sempi/rmr, aaa 

3 Angelicall regYNE 1 b 

4 Our tern m/em for to dispem, aaa 

3 Helpe rialest rosTNE. b 

4 Aue Maria, gratia plena 1 — 

3 Halle, fresche flour femynVNE 1 b 

4 ynu ws gabeme, wirgin msJ^m, aaa 
3 Of reath baith nite and ryne." b 



A. — Manuscripts. 

1. The Bannatyne MS., written by George Bannatjme, 1568, Advo- 
cates' Library, Edinburgh, from which Nos. ix. to xlix.. No. lxxi., 
and Nos. i. to vi. and viii. to xi. of the poems attributed to Dunbar in 
this edition are printed. 

2. The Maitland MS., collected by Sir Richard Maitland ot Leth- 
ington shortly after 1586, Pepysian Library, Magdalene College, Cam- 
bridge, from which Nos. l. to Lxx. and lxxii. to lxxvi. of this edition 
are printed. 

3. The Reidpeth MS., University Library, Cambridge, MS. Moore, 
LI. 5. 10, written by Mr John Reidpeth between 7th Dec. 1622 and 1623, 
and to a considerable extent copied from the Maitland MS., from 
which Nos. VIII. and lxxvii. to Lxxxiv. of this edition are printed. 

4. The Asloan MS., Auchinleck, Ayrshire, written in 1515* but 
nearly one half of the original volume, probably containing other 
poems of Dunbar, has been lost or destroyed, from which Nos. lxxxv. 
and Lxxxvi. of this edition are printed. 

5. The Makulloch MS., University of Edinburgh, has another copy 


6. An MS. volume of the Register of Sasines, Town Clerk's Office, 
Aberdeen, from which No. lxxxvii. of this edition is printed. 

7. The British Museum MS., Cotton. Vitellius, A xvi., folio 200, 
from which No. Lxxxviii. is printed. 

8. The British Museum Appendix to Royal MSS., No. 58, folio 
15 ^, from which No. lxxxix. is printed. 

9. The British Museum Arundel MS., No. 285, folio 161, from which 
No. xc. is printed. 

10. The poems i.-vii. and No. vii. of the poems attributed to Dun- 
bar are printed from the unique copy of Chepman and Myllar's first 
printed works in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates, Edin- 

The Society is indebted to Professor Skeat of Cambridge, Dr 
Richard Gamett of the British Museum, and the Rev. Dr Gregor, 
Pitsligo, for collations at Cambridge, London, and Aberdeen re- 
spectively, which have been of the greatest service. 

B, — Printed Editions. 

Dunbar's poems have been very frequently printed in part, either by 
themselves or in collections of Scottish poetry, but only once before 
the present edition as a whole, by Mr David Laing. It would not 


be easy or useful to notice all the partial editions, but the most im- 
portant are — 

1. The Seven Poems (the first printed in the present edition), issued 
by Chepman and Myllar in 1508. 

2. The ' Evergreen ' of Allan Ramsay. Edinburgh : Ruddiman, 
1724. Contains twenty-four poems by Dunbar. 

3. Ancient Scottish Poems, published from the MS. of George Ban- 
natyne, by Lord Hailes. Edinburgh : Printed by A. Murray and 
J. Cochrane for J. Balfour, 12', 1770. Reprinted at Leeds, 1817, 8'. 
Contains thirty-two poems by Dunbar. 

4. Ancient Scotch Poems, never before in print, but now published 
from the MS. Collections of Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington, 
Knight, by John Pinkerton. London and Edinburgh : 1786. Con- 
tains twenty-three poems by Dunbar, including "The Freiris of 

5. Select Poems of Will. Dunbar, from the MS. of George Banna- 
tyne. Part First Perth : R. Morison & Co., 1788, 12'. No Second 
Part was printed. 

6. Chronicle of Scottish Poetry, from the Thirteenth Century to the 
Union of the Crowns, by J. Sibbald. Edinburgh : 1802. Contains 
forty-five poems by Dunbar, including the " Freiris of Berwik." 

7. The Poetical Works of William Dunbar, with a Memoir and 
Notes by David Laing. Edinburgh : 1824. 2 vols., with a Supplement, 
published in 1865. The Memoir and Notes of this edition contain 
almost all that has been discovered in the Scottish Records relating 
to Dunbar. 

8. Reprint of Dunbar's Seven Poems, issued by Chepman and 
Myllar, in No. 19 of the English Scholars' Library, by Mr Edward 
Arber. Announced, but not yet published. 

9. Early English Poetry, selected and edited by H. Macaulay Fitz- 
gibbon. London : Walter Scott, Canterbury Poets, 1887. This is 
valuable from the successful translation of the poems of Dunbar into 
modem English, and also as showing how completely he is recognised 
as an early English poet 

la The works of William Dunbar, including his life, 1465-1536. 
With Notes and Glossarial Explanations. By James Paterson, author 
of * The History of Ayrshire and A]rrshire Families,' &c Edinbuigh : 
SUllie, 1863. 

1 1. The Bannatyne MS. has been published in full by the Hunterian 
Qub of Glasgow, 1874-81. 

12. The present edition contains ninety poems by Dunbar, and 
eleven others attributed to him but of uncertain authorship. 

The following works published on the Continent also deserve notice: — 

I. William Dunbar sein Leben und seine Gedichte von Dr J. 

Schipper, Professor der englischen Philologie an der K.K. Univer- 



sitatinWien. Berlin: Oppenheim, 1884. This is the best book which 
has been written on Dunbar, and the German translations of his 
poems are executed with a skill and fidelity which Dunbar would 
himself have admired. 

2. Traitd de la Langue du Poite Ecossais William Dunbar. In- 
augural Dissertation /ur Erlangung der Doctorwurde bci den philo- 
sophischen Facultat lu Bonn. Von Johannes Kaufmann aus Elber- 
feld, 1873. The contents of this Dissertation are chiefly taken from 
Professor Schippefs then unpublished work. 

3. Englische Studien von Dr Eugen KSlbing, Professor der Eng- 
lischen Philologie an der Universitat Breslau. X Band. Contains 
a review of the text of the present edition. 

4. Altenglische Metrik von Dr J. Schipper. Bonn: 1882-18S8L 
Contains references to Dunbar, pp. 335, 345, 359, 360, 366, 373, 376, 
377. 382. 396. 417. 420, 42s. 428. 429. 43'. 509-512, and 514. This 
work should be studied by all persons interested in Dunbar's metres. 

—Table of the MSS. in which ts found each op the 
Poems op Dunbar. 

BM.R. ., 
BM.A. .. 
•■rTht P«i 

The Goldyn Targe. 

The Flvling of Dunbar and Kennedie. 

The Tua Mariil Wemea and Ihe Wedo. 

Lamenl fot the Makaris. qiihen he wes sok. 

The Ballad of Kynd Kitiok. 

The Testament of Mr Andro Kennedy. 

The Ballad of Lord fJcmard Stewart, Lord 

of Aubigny. 
Elegy on the Death of Bernard Stewart, 

Lord of Aubigny. 
I cry the Mercy, iind Lasar lo repent. 
Rorate Cell de super. 
Memento. Homo, quod cinis es. 
All Erdly joy rcluinis in pane. 
Tidings from the Session. 
DevDiit with Drcme, derysing in my Slum- 

In oskine sowld Discn^ioun be. 

Of DiscretiouD io Gcviog. 

Of Discreiioun dn Taking. 

Muaog aJlone ihi! hinder nicht. 

Haw wwld I rewiU me, or quhat wyifs. 

To dwell ID Coon, my freind. 

Qahome to ±>l11 I complcne tDy wo. 

Schir. ]il mnembii ba of befoir. 

Uennes the Philosopher. 

Full oil I wm and his in thochL 

We ihal are heir in Hevins Gloiy. 

The Daoce of the Sevin Deidly Sfiuiis. 

The TumamFnt. 

E^foUowis the uneudis made be him to I 
Teljouhs and Sowlaris. 

Sanci Salualour t sead siiuer sorrow. 

FToUowis how Dumbar was desyrd to be BDe 

He tbal hex gold and grit ricfaesi. 

The Wowitig of the King quheo he wes in 

Ane Ballat of the Feojeit Frai of Tung- 

This nychl in my sldp I wes agasL 

* :ina KhTRDrng in silence of the nicfal. 
a. sen thy lyfe is ay in weir. 
reiil Dominus de Scpulchro. 
le is a l^ttell on the Dragoo Blak. 

Ffredome, Honour and Nobitnes. 

Itychl siiiie on Ask Weddinsday. 

Be Je ant Luvar, thinic ^ nocht je sold. 

Sen that 1 am a Plrsoneir. 

Tbir Ladyis fair. Ihal makis repair. 

In prays of Woman. 

Quha will behald of Luve the chance. 

In May as ihat Aurora did vpspnng. 

Now cumis Aigc quhair invth tui bene. 
and Irew Luve rysis fro the splcne. 

The Thistle and the Rose. 

In Vice most virius be exeeUis. 

Of Sir Thomas Korray. 

Of James Dog, Kepor of the Qaenis Ward- 
rop. To the Quene. 

Of the same Jair 

I, qtiLen he had pleaetl 
is Cbalmer. 

To the King, quhen i 

Aganis the SoUnaiis in Court. 

To (be King. 

ComplaiDi to the King aganis Mi 

Dmibar's Comi^ainl to tlw King. 

The Petition of the Gray Ho 

To the King, that he « 

souuis Man. 
Dunbar's Renxmstrance to the King. 

X Johns 


To a Ladye. 

Learning vain without euid Life. Written 

al Oxinrunle. 
Of the Warldis Inslabililie. To tbe King, 
or Conteot. 
Of the chanfTO of Lyfe, 
Mediialioun in W^tir. 
Ane Oiisoun. Qnhen the Goueraoar past 

We Lordis hes chosin a. Chiftane merrellus. 

Ane Ballal of tbe Passioun of ClirisL 

O Wreche, be war I 

To a Ladye. Quhone he list lo feyne. 

In secrail place ihi? hyndir nycht. 

Qahal U this Lyfe bol ane strauchi way to 

Biyth Aberdein. 
My heid did Jak Jesternicht. 
My Lordis of Chacker. plcis Jow to hdr. 
A New Year's Gift lo the King. 
The Dream. 
Satire oa Edinburgh. 
Welcome to the Lord Treasurer. 
Ballate against evil Women. 
Ane Ballal of our Lady. 
Roiss MaiT mosl of vertew virginalL 
Giadethe thoue Queyne of Scotlia Regioun. 
Loodon, thou an of townes A per se. 
Now fayie, fayrest off every fayre. 
O lynfull man, thir ar the fouity dayiF. 

Poems attrihoted t 


3- I •■ 

+ . ■■ 

i : : 


B. , .. 

4. « .. 

The Frdris of Berwilt. 

Doun by ane Rcver as I red. 

Fane wald I luve, but quhair abowl f 

Faine wald I, with a\l diligeDce. 

Gif ;e wald lufe and luvii be. 

Ane littill Inlerlud of the Droichis pan of 

the Play. 
In all oure gardyu growis thare na Qouris. 
Jerusalcia reio&s for jc^. 
Now glaidith eueiy Vims creature. 
O lusly flour of Jowth, benyog and bricfiL 
Tbe Sterne is tlssin of our RedemptiouD. 

£>,— Table of the Principal Editioms of e 
Poems of Dunbar. 

■-Tb* Poem in fbU. 
























■Y The Galdyn Targe. 



+ The Tua Mariii Wemen and Ibe Wedo. 





... Lamem for the Makaris, qnhen be wes 
... The BalLul of Kfnd Kittok. 




, The Testaroem of Mr Andro Kennedy. 





... The Ballad of Lord Bernard Stew&it. 




t Elegy on Ibe Dealh of Benan] Stewart. 
Lord of Aubigny. 



+ I cry the Merejr, and Lasar lo repent. 

. Rorale CeU desoper. 

T Memenio, Homo, quod cinii es. 

, AUErdlyloyremrniiinpane. 
4 Tidings &om the Ses^oa. 









+ DevoHl with Dreme, devysjog in my 

+ In asking sowld DUmtiaun be^ 






+ Of Diieieiioun in Geving. 



t or Discretioon in Taking. 


t Musing allone this hinder nidit. 


. How iowld I tewiU me. or qubal wyus. 



... To dwell in Coon, my Freind. 

, Qohome lo sail 1 complene my wo. 



. Schir. ^1 [^membir as of befo^. 


, Homes the Pbilosopher. 


, Full oft I nivss and ha in thocht. 


. We thai ar heir in Hevinj Glory. 

f The Dance of the SevinDeidlySynDis. 









, FToUowii the amendis made be Um to 
the Telyxiris and Sonlaris. 



■f SanctSahiatoor! send siluer sorrow. 






. FToUowii bow Ehunbar was desyrd to be 
iu» Fnnr. 







i He thai he£ gold and grit riches. 


The Wowing of the KJug; qnhcn be wes 

Ane Baliat of Ibe Fcn^eil Freir of Tnog- 

This nyehl In my sleip I wes agasc 
Lucina acbyonjag Id silence of the 

Man, sen thy Ijfe is aj in wdr. 

Dominus de Sepnlchro. 

a Batlell on [he Dragon Blak, 
FTiedome. Honour aad NobUnes. 
Rycbt ajriie on Ask Weddinsday. 
"; te ane Luvar, think je nocht }e 

Sen II 

Thir Ladyis fair, Ihat maids repair. 
'" "irays of Woman. 
. la will bebalU of Luve the chance. 
In May as Ihal Aurora did vpspring. 
Now cumis Aige quhair Jewth bes bene, 

and trcw Luve rysia fro the spleoc. 
The Thistle aod the Rose. 
In Vice most vicius he excellis. 
Of Sir Thomas Norray. 
Of lunes Doe, Kepar of the Qoenis 

Wardrop. To the Quenc. 
Of the siune James, quhen he hati 

plcsell him. 
Of B Dance in the Quenis Chalmer. 


' Blak-N 

To the Q\ 

To the King, quhen mony 

\ganis the SoUstaris in Court. 
To the King. 

Complaint to the King aganis Mure. 
I>unbaT's Complaint to the King. 
The Petition of Ihe Gray Horse, Aold 

To the King, that he war Johne Thorn- 

sounis Man. 
Dunbar's Remonstrance to the King. 
To a Ladye. 
Learning vain without guidLyfe. Wtjl- 

len at Oxinfurde. 
Of Ibe WarldJs Instabilide. To the 


Ane Orisoun. Quhen the Goaernour 

We l-ordis hes chosin a Chiflane mer- 

iillnt of Ihe Passioun of Christ, 
OWreche, be war I 
To B Ladye. Quhone he list to feyne. 
I In secreit place this hyndir nychl. 
























Qtihat ii this Lrle bot one UnMCht w*y 

BlTlh Aberddn. 

My Lordis of Chwier. plei* Jow to hdr. 

A New Year's Gift to Um Kiog. 


Satire on EiIinbaiEli. 

Welcome to the Lord Treamnr. 

Ballate agaiiut eYil Women. 


Roiss Maiy most ai vertcw luzinaU. 

Gladethe thoue Qaejoe of Seotlis 

tandDD. thoa art of townes A per se. 

Now byre, fajneft off everr lajrre. 

O synfuU roan, ihir ar Ihc founy d»Tis. 

RD TO Ddnbab. 

Drain by aoe Rever as 1 red. 

Fiuie wald I luve. but qubair abowt ? 

Faine wald I, with aU diligence 

Gif le wald lufe and lunt be. 

Ane IJllill Inlcrtud of the Droichis part 

In all cure gardya srowis thare na 


Now glaidilh enctj Mi crealure. 

lusty flour of jowlh, benyng amd 























Abiram. Flytingf 1. 25a — See Numbers xvi. i. 

Absalome. FlyUngy L 12. — The son of David. 

Achilles. Of Man*s Mortalities 1. 10. — The Greek champion in 
the siege of Troy. 

Afflek, James. Lament, 1. 58. — Laing identifies Afflek with 
James Auchinleck, these names having been pronounced the same 
way. Master James Auchinleck, shortened to Achlik, styled •* servi- 
tour to the Earl of Rosse," witnesses an indenture of marriage be- 
tween Alexander, son of John of Rosse, and Margaret, daughter of 
Hector (M'Gillevin) MacLean of Lochbuie, at Dingwall, 6th Feb. 
1474, recorded in the Acta Dominorum Concilii, 30th June 1494. In 
the Privy Council Records for 1497, the Chantory of Caithness was 
g^ven by James IV., on the decease of " Master James Auchinleck,** to 
James Beaton, afterwards Archbishop of St Andrews. This is pre- 
sumed to be the same person, and if so, he is proved to have been 
in holy orders. A poem, " The Quair of Jealousy," in the Selden MS., 
Auch. B. 24, which ends " Explicit quod Auchin," is conjectured by 
Laing to be by this poet No other poem of his is known. 

The dates of the life of James Auchinleck, who must have been 
alive in 1474 and dead in 1497, agree sufficiently well with his place 
in " The Lament for the Makaris." 

Albany, Duke of. See Stewart, John. 

Alexander. Of Man* s Mortalities 1. 11. — Alexander the Great, 
whose story was a familiar subject of legend. 

Allane. Testament of Mr Andro Kennedy ^ 1. 12. — Who blind 
Allan was has not been discovered. Probably the line — 

" Na blind Allane wait of the mone," — 
was a proverb now lost. It is alluded to by Lyndsay — 

1 These Notices have been under such frequent obligations to Mr Laing's 
Memoir and Notes to his edition of Dunbar, that a general acknowledgment of the 
compiler's share in the debt of all who attempt to write after Mr Laing may, how- 
ever inadequate, owing to considerations of space, be allowed. 


" I tmderstand no sdenoe spiritnal. 
No more than djd blind Alane of the mone." 

— ' The Tragedy of the Caidmal.' IL 395. 396. 

Andrew of Wyntoun. Lament, L 54. — Prior of the Convent of 
St Serfs Inch, in Lochleven, author of the 'Cronykall Oryginale,' 
written between 1395 and 1424. It was called "Oryginale" because 
it traced the history of the world, but chiefly of Scotland, from 
its origin. It is the earliest history in the vernacular, as well as the 
earliest long poem with the exception of Barbour's " Bruce." It is 
composed in rhyming couplets and lines of eight syllables, with some 
deviations into ten and six. Wyntoun and Barbour adhere more 
strictly to this metre which was borrowed from France than their 
English contemporaries (Schipper, 'Altenglische Metrik,' vol. i. p. 
264). It was first printed by Macpherson, 1795, ^^t the best edition is 
by Laing, ' Scottish Historians,' Paterson, 1872, which embodies Mac- 
pherson's Notes. 

Ann (An), St To ike King, that he war Jokne Tkomosunis Man, 
1. 31. — The mother of the Virgin. The development of the worship 
of the Virgin led to her relations being included in the Calendar as 
Saints, with altars dedicated to them. St Ann had such altars in 
many Scottish churches, as in the chapel at Holyrood and the great 
Church of St Michael at Linlithgow, where a chaplain was kept to 
minister at it — ' Register of Special Evidents of Linlithgow.' 

The Collegiate Church at Glasgow was founded by James Houston, 
Sub-Dean of the Cathedral and Rector of the University, in 1528, in 
honour of our Lady the Blessed Virgin and St Ann. — * Liber Collegii 
Nostras Domins B.V. Marias et S. Annas,' Maitland Club. 

The Franciscans specially favoured the worship of the Virgin. The 
Immaculate Conception was an article of their belief long before it 
was made a dogma of the Church. Sixtus IV., Pope (1471-84), and 
general of their Order, issued in 1477 a special office for the festival 
of her conception, and dedicated the churches of S. Maria del Popolo 
and S. Maria della Pace at Rome to her. But by a decree in 1483 he 
recognised the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception as open, though 
he had himself written a book in its support — Crichton's ' History of 
the Papacy,' vol. iiL p. 113. 

"A rich and copious legend," sa3rs Milman ('Latin Christianity,' 
vol. vi., p. 241), " revealed the whole history of her [the Virgin Mary's] 
birth and life, of which the sacred Scriptures were altogether silent, 
but of which the spurious Gospels furnished many incidents. The 
latest question raised about the Virgin, her absolute immunity from 
the sin of Adam, is the best illustration of the strength and vitality 
of the belief. ... It divided the Franciscans and the Dominicans 
into hostile camps;" and he adds in a note : "When the stranger in 



•21 -ac Tttti. on. 22^ zui r^. Ei± 7 'nrr^ je i^'.*7 12 

^ae "rxiH'.— .u.iiii jx :3e rnr * -^"^ TTtTi:*— am zsui nxr 

' *nr ^ai'sr zf znr Z^scr. ' x 2C» ^ 1= — 3zni zcis 3ct U'si.«r 

•mt. Trgm. * 11 3iiii *r= Tiiifi.i^Mi e. " - i2. am * inTiiiT af < Sad "* — 

* lijias MJarr sasc if 'V-srsm Tt. 

1 5CL — St 

Azxanssus. Tf -9:10x1 us zi^ -vss yj 1 t-r. In locc zxe its ^■*i?«*-*T 
"d 5c A3ZE117 "vss inmiii^ ly "isginTn. x j— rrr-ii^ii if Z jiuihue . iar tifee 

jsi 5c ^ . \T :n s ir» -s-sreuas . I3. ucr rint .'mhhuhh'jlw of 


rangr»S3Ccn. iiiLcrTn^ me nLt if 5c Aag-wrrrt*. -xncjs: i ball of 
Bciuiacs VIZI Tlieir inly iicixse :3 5cccii:iii vas ic Trcfr, 
■JTis *Siicvr^^ *7 Liic^n. if 5-isalr::r ^ ^JS ^^^cr hccss 

3— ■arri'tr :; r :±ii Zi.izfcl if re Ajiiiz^- ic ArTizirs Seii. lear viuch 
■ji zz^ -v^I tT" -a"''*c 5 c AZIIE7 5 'STiil — ^See Aizi Sizctiin^:,' J; 
17 : iCjuzi. i • ?-*L-ri-:i3 Hi'isds.' irce^'iec n i:^ Cinlccie zc 
ijc E_£Ciit:s. p. u.: ; F. .TTTm Niciss if ic Aziccjs. 

a. :n.v,r, Ij i:iiir is caH-^f his ^-5— .i" rj KiiiJiiCT. — 5<k C iaaocr. 
-Tr->'ili3 ar.d Crr^cvd*' ri.. t. p. :•" "Sil's ec:~r!:»; 'Tr« Bcke of 

• ^ ■ ■ * ^ m ^* ^ * ■ A V « 

^^ i^ .!,-.. ^:%aC. < ^^ •» ^. k .. ,2CC 2.2^ O-wTcTS V.<.v^£SS10 AlJuJ£.tXS^ 
p- 7 jr 

AfclSTCrri^ B-iS^^^ ^zirM Ezil U'cwum^ p- 2f • L 31 

\xiHZ9L. Tfu Balhid cf Lord Bim-jrd S:<rL,srt, L 5CL— Trie h«o of 
British ronvance, in Scotland as in Er^Iand. It is scill a milter of dis- 
pijU whether Arthur was a mythical or historical hero ; and it histor- 
icaJ, whether the scene of his exploits was South Wales and the south- 
west of England — the neighbourhood of Bath and Glastonbury — or the 
iouth-wcst of Scotland and north-west of England and \Vales» where. 


especially in the neighbourhood of Carlisle, his name is preserved in 
many places. The English theory is maintained by Dr Guest and Mr 
Pearson (note, p. 133. of Mr Stewart Glennie's 'Arthurian Localities')* 
and the Scottish by Mr Skene (* Four Books of Ancient Wales,* vol. i. p. 
51) and by Mr Glennie. A fair statement of the g^rounds on which the 
opposite theories are based is g^ven by Mr Keary in the life of Arthur 
in the * Dtctionary of National Biography.' This writer declines to pre- 
judge the question whether Arthur belong^ to history at all. What is 
certain is, that he was aCymric as distinguished from a Gaelic hero ; and 
that, while the 'Vita Sancti Gildse,' and the early medieval chroni- 
clers generally, favour the view of his kingdom and battles having 
been in the southern district, the Cymric poems (in Skene's ' Ancient 
Books of Wales *) and the early English or Scottish alliterative poem 
of the " Awntyrs of Arthur at the Tamwathlan " (Tarn Wadling), and 
others, written early in the fourteenth century, support the view that 
he belonged to the northern branch of the Cymric race, and fought 
in modem Scotland and the north-west district of England. The 
most important account of him and his twelve battles, because the 
earliest in date, is g^ven by Nennius in his ' Historia Britonum,' p. 56. 
The situations of the places of these battles have been identified by 
the supporters of the two views, according to their respective theories, 
but cannot be said to be ascertained. Modem Scotland and Cum- 
berland are distinctly richer in Arthurian place-names than southern 
England, and there is much force in the argument that the nucleus of 
the romantic legends which surround his name, the favourite material 
of so many poets of recent as well as earlier times, travelled from 
north to south rather than the reverse. It became incrusted with a 
later tradition invented by Geoffrey of Monmouth (1130), and elabor- 
ated by Sir Thomas Malory, whose collection of the Arthurian Legends 
was published by Caxton in 1485, and who brought it back from the 
French Brittany to Britain at a time when a Welsh or southem Eng- 
lish site for the legend was more popular than one on Scottish g^round. 
The romance of Arthur was familiar in Scotland in the reign of James 
IV., owing to the attempt of the king to re-enact his character, as well 
as from the tradition of the alliterative poetry describing his adven- 
tures and those of his principal knights. — See Gawaine. 

Augustine, Sanct, of Canterbury. Flyting^ 1. 125. — ^The line — 

*' And he that dang Sanct Angasdne with ane mmple," — 

is explained by the following curious passage in Bellenden's transla- 
tion of Boece : " Finalie quhen this haly man, Sanct Austin, was 
precheand to the Saxons in Miglintoun, they wer nocht onlie rebelland 
to his precheing, bot in his contemptioune thay sewit fische talis on his 
abylement Otheris allegis thay dang him with skait rumpellisr — 
Book ix., ch. 18. See also Rowles's " Cursing," 1. 207. 

^KTt i3L ' aomii:i ' !U!i> 

3aal^ Fhftbn^, X «jj aid ^on — ^711011111. in ifniliini^ tfte or^^K 
if iitoiflnT; prizes : ' iom 3esl ±20. raalrrf ani snn Had* 
ashnii and son Igjiai. ' — ^7iL L x l4> 

S ^fli 3 W^g r Ui> Dncaor. Cr < Dmma at i£e Qptms OmdmBr^ L r^ — -1 

land in ixer aiarrtai{*L and -v^a ^ranniEd in c^afr^^or DesBi: of 
'tfwn. -vhm " /j^ ;{nac Fmrish aiane7 ^ -sp;^ paid air q^j e diLlu g the 
!iiill if 'he D«saner7 Tng amia' i 4<: ! :!mma^ ^ An^ost c;d6 to 6dk 
9uv^vSL csc7> ffig haif-fssEt^i ze as Almnnrr V* £va Eogfxab. qnSk n 
!V:Artiii mnncj is £5? *) ^''^a said iiom ijdi Docsmixr c^d^ ii> 8tk 
F(*hriar7 r^t^S^ — iB. After oe -ivas apucinied Drmr he JiuLmii m- kcwe 
;pv'»n ID che iffics if ATmoner. Anrnngir du; 3zxnar evsns wftnc& ran 
in tx^Mr if the tTnianr and in the end overcame the prq*nfTi:e of the 
ScrjrdiAi petsple against it. masi be rackzmed the imxuJimii Bo. of 
Wj^gjaki uarxj/en like Baisin^tnn beiongin!^ to the sxin^ of 

Bobcofccon maj ha.7e been a. meiiif^ei of the fisnilT m 

X'Mrthumberland, baz a&erwards setded in X jtiIm^lMn i ahir e» 
whom. Sir Williani, was Chief jTwrfrr of the Common Ti^^rlt^ 
(iietl tti t4yy. The Chief Joatice; who wa5a.bene&ciDraf theOoarc^ 
(1*6 twn Ma9.< — ^See Foai^ * Jadges of Eogiand*' voL dt. p^ 2S> 

EAAJTiCft, JOHS. Lamixt, L 6c. Ardbdeacon of Aberdeeit^ Ix 
f ^f^ /L ry)5^ Aatfaor of ' The Brace,' the earliest in date of the 
.Sooftiiih poetSr oftftn called the father of Scottish poetry. Beskies 
th^t pk>m on which his fame rests, he is now generallT believed 
f/> hAr«» written the version of the ' Legends of the Saints*." of which 
th^t only MS. is In tiie Cambridge UniTcrstr Libcarr, wh qe it was 
di!ico'/<tr«td by the late Mr Bradshaw, its Ubrarian. It was pah- 
lithivi by Horstmano, in his collection of * Altenglische Legenden,* 
and 'v% now, under the editorship of the Rer. Mr Metcalfe, in co m sc 
of pablidtion for the Scottish Text Society. More recently doobls 
hzvf: \>fof::n cast on Barboar's aathorship of these legends (see K^spel, 
'Knjfliv.hc Studicn^' iSSj, voL x. p. 373X And Professor Skeat in- 
cHne« to think these doubts well founded. But they rest chiefly, if 
not solely, on an argument from the dialect used in 'The Lires of the 
Saints/ Writers who approach the subject from another point of 
y'ltw, still think the internal erideoce is in (aTour of Barbour's autbor- 
»hip, and that any linguistic dificrences between them and *The 
Hruce' is sufSciently accounted for by the poet's frequent visits to 
England He also wrote a poem on the ' L^^d of Troy,' of which 
fragments are appended to two MSS. of Lydgate's * Troy Book.' printed 
by the Earljr Ea^iib Tot Society, and by Horsunann, Barbour's 


' Legenden Sammlung/ vol ii. p. 218. Andrew of Wyntoun, his suc- 
cessor in the list of Scottish poets, appears to ascribe to Barbour the 
composition of another poem on the genealogy of the Stuarts : — 

" The Stuarts oryginale 
The Archdeykne has tretet hale 
In metyr feiyre." 

—Wyntoun's * Cronykal.' VII. vii. 143. 

Dunbar has no poetical affinity to Barbour. The mention of his 
name, as well as that of Wyntoun, attests his catholic taste in poetry. 
For the life of Barbour, the * Dictionary of National Biography,* vol. 
iii., may be referred to. 'The Bruce' has been often published. The 
best editions are those of the Spalding Club, edited by Mr Cosmo Innes, 
and of the Early English Text Society, edited by Professor Skeat 

Bartilmo. Fly ting, 1. 126. — St Bartholomew, according to the 
legend of his martyrdom, was flayed with a knife in Armenia. The 
* Roman Breviary,* vol. ii. pp. 1237, 1238, gives this account: — 

" The apostle Bartholomew was a Galilaean. In the division of the 
world among the apostles, it fell to his lot to preach the Gospel in 
hither India. He went thither and preached to those nations the 
coming of the Lord Jesus according to the Gospel of St Matthew. 
When he had turned many in that province to Jesus Christ, and had 
endured many toils and woes, he came into the greater Armenia. 
There he brought to the Christian faith Polymius the king and his 
wife, and likewise the inhabitants of twelve cities. This stirred up 
a great hatred against him among the priests of that nation. They 
so inflamed against the apostle Astyages, the brother of King Polym- 
ius, that he savagely ordered Bartholomew to be flayed alive and 
beheaded, under which martyrdom he gave up his soul to God." 

In ' The Legends of the Saints' the story runs thus : — 

" ft rycht as ^ sik spek gane mak, 
Mene tald, |« kingis god. Raldak, 
Wes £allyiie downe & brokyne smaL 
^ kinge fore Ire )Muie raf his pal 
Of parpar, \tl he Ine wes dede, 
& gerte |« apostil in )at stede 
With gret stawis be dongyng sare 
ft |« skyne of hyme be flayne jare:" 

— ix., U. a83>290. Horstmann, p. 86. 

At the Abbey of Croyland, down to the middle of the 15th century, 
knives were presented to all who visited on the Saint's day, 24th 
August, in memory of this. — Dugdale, ' MonasL Anglic.,' vol. ii. p. 

Beelzebub. FlyHngy 1. 533. ~ See Milton, 'Par. Lost,' Book I., 
IL 78-81 ; Book XL, IL 299-309. 


Bell, Allan. Of Sir Thomas Norray, I. 28. — A misnomer for 
Adam Bell, celebrated in the early English ballad, " Adam Bell, Clym 
of the Cleugh, and William of Cloudisle.*' This ballad is printed by 
Percy, * Reliques,* vol. i. p. 106 ; and also in the Collections of Ancient 
Popular Poetry by Mr Ritson and by Mr W. C. Hazlitt An early 
edition was printed by Wynkyn de Worde, or his apprentice, Robert 
Copland, perhaps as early as 1520, and another by William Copland, 
and there are repeated reprints of this popular ballad (see Hazlitt, 
vol. ii. p. 131). ** Its heroes," says Percy, "were three noted outlaws, 
whose skill in archery rendered them as famous in the north of 
England as Robin Hood and his fellows were in the Midland. Their 
place of residence was in the forest of Inglewood, not far from Car- 
lisle. Henry IV., on 14th April, in the seventh year of his reig^, 
granted a pension of £4^ los. to Adam Bell out of the fee-farm of 
Clipston, in the forest of Sherwood ; and this Adam Bell violated his 
allegiance by adhering to the Scots, whereupon his pension was 
resumed." ^ Probably Adam Bell was by origin a Scotsman or Bor- 
derer. Bishop Percy states, "The Bells were noted rogues in the north 
so late as the time of Queen Elizabeth; see in Rymer's *Foedera' a 
letter from Lord W. Howard, wherein he mentions them." The com- 
piler of the second and later part of the ballad added in 1605, and 
some other ballad-writers, make Bell the contemporary of Robin Hood. 
The popularity of this class of ballads was due to the love of a free 
life common to all free races, but also to the odium of the cruel forest 
laws of the Norman kings. They seem never to have been so severe 
or so rigidly enforced by the Scottish as by the English kings. But 
in this, as in other matters, the Scottish Lowlanders shared the tradi- 
tionary feelings of their English neighbours. The scenery and inci- 
dents of these ballads, though laid in Sherwood and Inglewood, would 
be eagerly followed by the natives of Jedburgh and Selkirk. 

Bevis. Of Sir Thomas Norray, 1. 35.— Sir Bevis of South Hamp- 
ton. Of the poem on this hero of romance Professor Ten Brink 
(* Early English Literature,* p. 246, Kennedy's Translation) says : 
" Guy of Warwick and Bevis of Hampton are both names unknown 
to English history. They are also unknown to Saga, until they 
emerge as heroes of Anglo-Norman poems of the twelfth century. 
Each offers a motley mixture of knightly adventure such as delighted 
the imagination of the age of the Crusades. . . . He who possesses 
the fancy of the true student of folk-lore will discern a rejuvenation 
of Beowulf, the victor over Grendal and Grendal's mother, in Bevis, 
who kills the dreaded boar of King GrendaFs forest, and who, hurried 
weaponless into King Grendal's dungeon, by means of a cudgel acci- 
dentally found overcomes two dragons ; while the other dragon-fight 
of Bevis in the vicinity of Cologne will recall Siegfrid and the 

^ Hunter's * New Illustrations of Shakespeare/ vol. i. p. 245. 


Drachenfels.'* Bevis is still depicted as a giant on the bar-gate of 

The metrical tale of Sir Bevis, although its scene is laid in 
England, and he is represented as a Christian champion against the 
heathen Danes in the reign of Edgar I., became famous in the 
hands of French romance-writers during or after the Crusades (War- 
ton's 'History of English Poetry,' vol. i. p. 122). It may have had 
an Anglo-Saxon original, now lost It was brought back to England 
by translations or copies of the French tale before the time of Chaucer. 
Of these there are two MSS. at Cambridge University Library, No. 
690, § 31, and Caius College, Class A-9. 5 ; and there is another, 
Advocates* Library, Auchinleck MS., W. iv., No. xxii. Chaucer^s 
reference in the "Rhyme of Sir Thopas" is well known : — 

" Men speken of romatmces of pris, 
Of Home Child and of Ipotis, 
Of Bevis and Sir Guy." 

It was first printed by Richard Pynson, without date, 4to, and next 
by Wynkyn de Worde, and very frequently since (see Lowndes's * Bib- 
liographical Dictionary *). It was closely copied by the author of " The 
Seven Champions of Christendom," Richard Johnson, who wrote in 
the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. (Percy's ' Reliques,' Bell & Sons' 
ed., vol. ii. p. 258), and it was burlesqued in the ballad of "The 
Dragon of Wantley ** (Warton's * History of English Poetry,* and the 
Essay on the Ancient Metrical Romances by Percy, ' Reliques,' vol. ii. 
p. 80). Dunbar must have known this romance from Chaucer's allu- 
sions, and probably may have read or heard parts of it recited. It is 
one of the tales mentioned in the " Complaynt of Scotland,*' which, 
the author says, were told by the shepherds 

" Slim war in prose and some in verse ; 
Sum war stoieis and sum war flet taylis." 

— P. 63, Murray's edition. 

Blak Belly and Bawsy Brown. Dance of the Sevtn Deidly 
SynniSf 1. 30. — ^These were probably the Scotch names for spirits or 
brownies (see Scott's * Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border,' Introduc- 
tion, p. iv.) " Belly Bassy with his bagges " is mentioned in Rowles's 
"Cursing," line 2251. There is also in "Cockelbie's Sow" the lines 

(11. 286, 287)— 

*' Ballybrass and Belly 

which suggests that these names were altered at will by the comic 
poets. — See Warton's ' History of English Poetry,' vol. iii. p. 215. 

Bruce. Flyting^ 1. 265 ; Blyth Aberdeifty 1. 33.— Robert the Bruce, 


whose history was a household word to Dunbar, as to all his country- 
men, through Barbour^s poems and the Chronicle of Wyntoun. It is 
interesting to know that he was represented in the masque or pageant 
in honour of the queen in Aberdeen, in i$ii, as he might be to-day 
by the erection of a statue. 

The description of him by Dunbar as ^'richt awfull Strang and 
large of portratour," is that of a poet who does not disdain to use 
common epithets. 

Bute, John. Of a Dance in the Qjuenis Ckalmer, 1. 19.— One of the 
kingfs fools. He is first mentioned in the Treasurer's Accounts in 
November 1506, and continued to receive allowances during the rest 
of James IV.'s reign. In December 1506 he was granted "a gown of 
chamelot, lined with g^ey and purflett with skins," a hood, a fustian 
doublet, hose, and a g^ey bonnet His servant John Spark got at the 
same time a russet gown, a fustian doublet, and hose of carsay (the 
stuff called kersey, from a village in Suffolk where the woollen trade 
was carried on). His brother also got a g^nt which is mentioned in 
the same accounts on 20th September 15 12. The fools of this time 
well knew how to obtain favours for their friends and relations. That 
both Bute and Curry, who were only of the second rank and inferior 
to Sir Thomas Norray, should have had servants to attend them, 
shows the consideration in which they were held. — See also Curry ; 
Norray, Sir Thomas; Rig, Cuddy. 

Cavm. Fly ting, 1. 513. — "Cankrit Caym" seems to be Ham, the 
son of Noah. — See ' Pseudomonarchia Daemonum,' J. Weiri Opera, 
1660, p. 659. Cf. Wyntoun, vol. i. p. 24 — 

" The Caim that was the middle brother." 

Cavphas. Flyting, 1. 534. — Caiphas, the high priest who charged 
Jesus with blasphemy, is called the "sectour" of Dunbar. A "sector" 
was one who made accusations in order to get a share of the confis- 
cated goods of the accused when sold by auction. " Sectores vocan- 
tur qui publica bona mercantur." — Gaius, Dig., vol. iv. p. 146. "Cum 
de bonis et de csde agatur testimonium dicturus est is qui et sector est 
et sicarius ; hoc est qui et illorum ipsorum bonorum de quibus agitur 
emptor atque possessor est" — Cicero, Rose. Am., 36, 103. The defini- 
tion in Ducange is ** Abscissor cultor usurpator." Skeat gives " sec- 
tour "= executor.— Cf. Dalzeirs 'Poems of the i6th Century,* p. 29. 

Chaucer, Geoffrey. Lament, 1. 50 ; The Goldyn Targe^ 1. 253. — 
Dunbar in both poems recognises Chaucer as the source of Scottish 
as well as English poetry. Chaucer was bom about 1340 and died 
about 1400, so that he was at least a generation older than Dunbar. 
But the ideas of the Renaissance had reached England, by contact 


with Italy, much earlier than Scotland, which received them chiefly 
from France, and Chaucer is in some respects more modem in his 
style and language than Dunbar. His poems were first printed as a 
whole in 1532, by Thomas God fray, and Dunbar's knowledge of them 
must have been derived either from MSS. or from Caxton's editions of 
the " Canterbury Tales," printed in 1475 and 1495, o^ Pynson's, printed 
in 1491. The second edition by Pynson was not printed till 1526, and 
was the first in which other poems of Chaucer's were added to the 
" Canterbury Tales." The terms in which Dunbar speaks of Chaucer, 
in " The Goldyn Targe," and especially his allusion to the '' fresch an- 
amalit termes celicall," apply more naturally to his other poems than 
to the Tales, so that it appears probable that Dunbar was acquainted 
with MSS. of the English poet Such MSS. had undoubtedly 
reached Scotland before he wrote. 

The influence of Chaucer on Dunbar is seen rather in his language 
than in direct imitation of particular poems. Such imitation may, 
however, be traced in " The Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo," 
which, both in subject and mode of treatment, recalls the " Wife of 
Bath's Tale"; and in the verses to the king beginning — 

** Sanct Saluatoor ! send sihier sorrow ; 
It gravis me both evin and monow," — 

with the refrain — 

" My panefuU porss so pridiss me," — 

there is perhaps a reminiscence of Chaucer's lines " To his Empty 
Purse" (Moxon's ed., p. 431). In the " Assembly of Foulis " (Moxon's 
ed., p. 340) there are several passages which prove that Dunbar must 
have been a careful reader of that poem. The garden with a river 
running through it, and birds singing on every bough, and the as- 
sembly of heathen gods, is imitated in " The Goldyn Targe." Beauty 
in Chaucer's poem has similar allegorical persons in her train as in 
Dunbar's "Beauty and the Prisoner." St Valentine's Day is cele- 
brated as the time when every bird may choose " his mate," to which 
there is an allusion in "The Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo"; and 
the eagle is described as — 

" The fonle royall above yoa all in degree," 
as in " The Thistle and the Rose." 

Clerk, Iohne. Lament, L 58 ; Testament of Mr Andro Kennedy^ 
1. 81.— The legacy to John Clerk, in the poem called " Andro Ken- 
nedy's Testament," of " Goddis malisone and myne," is put into the 
mouth of Kennedy. Lord Hailes supposed Clerk to have been an 
ignorant practitioner in medicine, from the reference to him in the 
Testament as " scribendo dentes sine de." Laing regards this as an 
unsatisfactory explanation, but is unable to suggest another. There 


seems little doubt that it is the same person who is referred to in the 
poem, as he has the same Christian name, and is distinguished by the 
title of Master in both, which proves he had taken a degree — of course 
in arts, for medicine was not yet taught at the universities. But no 
poem attributed to John Clerk is known. The profession of medicine 
had scarcely yet come into existence in Scotland, and its practitioners 
were often in clerical orders. It was, however, fashionable to practise 
it, as is shown by the instances of James IV. himself (but Buchanan 
attributes this to old Scotch custom), Scheve^, the Archbishop of St 
Andrews, and John Damian, the French leech. The absence of any 
professional training or qualification gave opportunities for imposture 
and quackery which are satirised in the well-known description of the 
Doctor of Physick in Chaucer, — 

" For he was grounded in Astronomye, 
He kept his patient wonderly wel 
In houris by his magik naturel ; " — 

in Henryson's Poem, " Some Practyses of Medecyne," and Dunbar^s 
allusion to the French leech Damian's murderous art — See Damian, 
and Schaw, Robert 

Clerk, , of Tranent Lament^ 1. 65. — Nothing is known of 

this poet except the statement of Dunbar in this passage, that he 
" maid the Anteris [adventures] of Gawane." 

This poem was, no doubt, one of the circle of poems belonging to 
the Arthurian legend, and affords proof of its currency in Scotland. 
Ten Brink notices, in his * Early English Literature,* that ** the verse 
combining alliteration and rhyme seems to have been more fully de- 
veloped and adapted to a wider range of subjects in the north-western 
counties, and chiefly in Lancashire. It occurs earliest in romances 
having to do with Gawayne : this was a favourite theme of poetry in 
the north, as was the Arthurian saga in general. Cumberland, West- 
moreland, the districts between the Tyne and Tweed, and all the 
south of the Scotland of to-day, are rich in names of places that point 
to a localising and a more or less independent growth of the Arthurian 
traditions in that region. This phenomenon is accounted for by the 
long duration of British rule in Strathclyde, and the intercourse kept 
up by these Britons with their own race, on the one side, in Wales, 
and with the Gaels of Caledonia on the other.** 

There are at least two early alliterative poems in which Gawayne is 
hero, of which manuscripts have been preserved : (i) "The Awnteris 
of Arthur at the Tarnewathelan " (Adventures of Arthur at Tarn 
Wadling), first printed under the name of " Sir Gawayne and Sir Gal- 
oran of Galloway ** (Pinkerton, 'Scottish Poems,' 1792), and afterwards 
in Laing's * Select Remains of Early Scottish Poetry * ; and (2) " Sir 
Gawayne and Gologras," printed by Chepman and Myllar, 1508. 
Wyntoun attributes a poem which he calls the " Awntyre of Gawayne," 


as well as "The gret Gest of Arthure" and other poems, to Hutchown 
(Hugh) of the Awle Ryale (Royal Hall). 

Sibbald, in his 'Chronicle of Scottish Poetry,* voL i. p. xvi, 
hazarded an alternative conjecture that Hutchoun in Dunbar's poem 
might be the Christian name of Clerk of Tranent, or might be the 
same as Sir Hugh of Eglinton, mentioned in the same "Lament." 
The latter appears the more probable hypothesis, and has been main- 
tained in an able article in the 'Scottish Review' for March 1888 by 
Mr McNeil. All that can be said with certainty as to Clerk of 
Tranent is that he chose the subject of his poem from the same cycle 
of romance. — See Hew, Sir, of Eglinton. 

CoiL^EAR, Rauf. To the King, 1. 33.— See Rauf Coljard. 

CoRSPATRiCK, Earl of March. Flyting^ 1. 262. — Cors- or Gos- 
patrick was created Earl of Dunbar and March by Malcolm Can- 
more. He was the Saxon Earl of Northumberland who was deprived 
of that earldom by William the Conqueror, and as an exile received 
by the Scottish king — (Simeon of Durham, sub anno lorjiy p. 92). 
Assuming Dunbar to be descended from this line, he was a Saxon by 
origin. So Kennedy flytes Dunbar : — 

" Happyn thow to be bangit in Northmnbir, 
Than all thy kyn ar wd quyte of thy ciimbir " — (U. 478, 479). 

Dunbar, or rather Kennedy — for he is the author of this part of the 
" Flyting " — states, of course erroneously, that he fought against Wal- 
lace, whom he called " King in Kyle" (L 284). This is a confusion of 
Corspatrick the first with Corspatrick the fourth Earl of March, who 
submitted to Edward I. as one of the competitors for the Scottish 
crown after the death of the Maid of Norway. His contest with 
Wallace, whom he called King of Kyle, and who in turn denounced 
him as a traitor at a council at St Johnstone (PerthX is described by 
BHnd Harry in his Eighth Book.— See Hary, Blind. 

' Curry. Cf, Sir Thonuu Norray, 11. 43, 48.— Curry, one of the 
king's fools, is mentioned in the Treasurer's Accounts first in May 
1496, when payment of three shillings was made " to the lad that 
kepit Curry." A similar payment occurred of two shillings and two- 
pence on the loth June " to the chield that kepis Curry." On 27th 
April 1497 there is a payment " to Curryis man to pay for his bedding 
al the tyme the king was in Strivelin, xxviijd.," and another of seven 
shillings "to Curry and his man to remain in Strivelin quhil the 
kingis agane cummyng.** On the 17th May Curry again receives 
three shillings and sixpence for his bed in Stirling, and to bear him 
to Edinburgh ; and on the 20th of the same month, eightpence " for 
drink be the gait," apparently of Linlithgow. On the 12th June 1497 
Curry receives sixteen pence "to pay for his bed." On the 13th 


December 1497 he has two shillings "to red him furth of Strivelin 
and to haf him at Falkland ; " and on the 17th of the same month he 
receives a larger payment of three pounds six shillings and eightpence 
" for horse to ride over the mounth agane " (that is, before Yule). 

He must have gone with or before the king to Aberdeen, in 1497, 
for a payment is made on 5th January " to Curryis man to bide with 
Curry in Aberdeen until the king's incuming agane ; ** and on the 2d 
March six shillings and eightpence was paid to Curry " for his stabil 
hire in Abirdene and his owne costis, and two shillings more to haf 
him to Bervie," — no doubt in the king's company on his return south. 
There are further entries in the same Accounts down to the 2d of June 
1506, when a payment " of 46s. 8d. was made for the tyrment [inter- 
ment] and expenses maid on the furth bringing of Curry ; " and also of 
41s. " to John Knox wif for keeping walking and expenses of Curry 
Hand seik/' and of 18s. on the 13th of the same month "be the king's 
command to the wif quhair Curry lay seik.** From these entries 
Laing conjectures that Curry must have died about the end of May 
1506. There are also references to Curry's "knave," or servant lad; 
to " Curry's moder ; " " Daft Anne, Curry's wif ; " and " Peter Curry, 
Curry's broder." — See Dickson, Preface to 'Treasurer's AccountSi' 
vol. i. p. cxcix. 

CuTHBERT, . Testament of Mr Andro Kennedy ^\.^\. — Probably 
St Cuthbert, but why he should be selected as the saint who had no 
love for Andrew Kennedy the drunkard, is not clear. He is called 
"Sweet," the same epithet which Dunbar applies to St Anne. 

Damian, John. The Fen^t Freir of Tungland, 1. 23 ; Lucina 
schynnyng in silence of the nicht, 1. 23. — This impostor first appears 
under the name of the " French leich," " Maister John, the French 
leich," " Maister John, the French medicinar," and " French Maister 
John," in the Treasurer's Accounts in 1501. On 3d March 1 501-2, 
there were sent to him four nobles " to multiply to Stirling," and on 
the 4th of the same month nine pounds five shillings were disbursed 
to the king and the " French leich " to " play at the cartis." On 29th 
May 1502, £^i, 4s. was paid to Robert Bertoun, one of the king's 
mariners, " for droggis brocht home by him to the French leich ; " and 
on 30th May 300 French crowns, equivalent to ;£2io Scots, was 
allowed the " French leich," who was then, probably, going on a visit 
to the Continent He must have returned in 1504, for on 5th January 
1504 there is an entry " to Maister John to buy bells for the morris- 
dance, 28s.," and various other payments for the dresses of the 
dancers, which is called " French Maister John's Dance," and seems 
to have been the novelty of the New Year amusements of the year. 
From entries on the nth and 12th March of the same year, he appears 
to have been newly made Abbot of Tungland, a monastery of the 


Premonstratensians in Galloway. On the former of these days, 
Gareoch, pursuivant, got 14s. to pass to Tungland for the abbacy 
for the " French Maister John," which probably means to take pos- 
session of it for him ; and next day ^£25 was paid to Bardus Altovite, 
a Lombard banker, for " Maister John, the French medicinar, new 
made Abbot of Tungland, quhilk he aucht to the said Bardus." 
Bardus was probably the banker who paid the fees for the confir- 
mation of the gift of the abbacy at Rome. On the 17th of the same 
month Maister John himself got {p from the treasurer. On 27th July 

1 507 the entry occurs, " Lent be kingis command to the Abbot of Tung- 
land, and can nocht be gottin frae him, ^£33, 6s. S^d." He cannot 
have been in the good g^ces of the treasurer's clerk who made this 
entry. It was shortly after this that the incident of Dunbar's satire 
occurred. On 27th September 1507 an embassy was sent from Scot- 
land to France, and the Abbot of Tungland boasted that he would fly 
there before the ambassadors arrived. His failure is recorded in 
Leslie's History, Bannatyne Club ed., 1830, p. 76^ as well as in this 
ballad. Dunbar contributes a few additional circumstances. He 
alleges Damian to have been of Eastern origin, calling him a " Turk 
of Barbary," and not an Italian or a Frenchman, and gives currency 
to rumours evidently then repeated, whether true or not, that he had 
slain a friar in Lombardy and passed himself off in his habit in 
France ; that he had next adopted the little understood profession of 
physician or surgeon, in which he had killed more patients than he 
cured, and secured for himself fees and perquisites. In Scotland he 
first essayed to make the quintessence or gold of the medieval alche- 
mist, and having failed, as a new trick made the attempt to fiy with 
wings, which is the subject of the poem. In this also he came to 
grief, but, by some means unknown to us, did not lose the support 
of King James. On 13th October 1507, {fy was paid by the treasurer 
for " a puncheon of wine to the Abbot of Tungland to mak quinta 
essentia " (Treasurer's Accounts). Between October 1507 and August 

1508 there are frequent notices of his playing dice and cards with 
the king; and on 8th September 1508, Damian, Abbot of Tungland, 
had a licence " to pass out of the realm, and remain in what place he 
pleases at the study or any other lawful occupation, without any pre- 
judice, hurt, or skaith to his right to the abbey." He appears to have 
returned shortly before the expiry of the five years ; for on 29th March 
15 13* JL'^ ^^ P^cl "to the Abbot of Tungland to pas to the myne 
of Crawfurd Muir," where James IV., shortly before Flodden, was 
still occupied with the search for the precious metals. This is the 
last appearance in history of this Cagliostro of the sixteenth century, 
who played the parts of a feigned friar and quack doctor, and 
also of alchemist, boon companion, stage-manager, aeronaut, and 
mining engineer. No wonder Dunbar's wrath was moved when such 
a charlatan became an abbot It was a favourable age, and the 



Scottish Court was a favourable place, for impostors. The most suc- 
cessful was Perkin Warbeck, to whom it is singular there is no allu- 
sion in Dunbar's poems. There is a curious reference to Damian in 
the dedication to James VI., by Dr Thomas Morison, of his * Liber 
novus de metallorum causis et transubstantioni/ Franco., 1595 — 
" Taceo avum tuum felicioris memorias Jacobum Quintum cum sni 
creaturi Abbate Tunlandias qui dum in multiplicationis verba assen- 
titur Rex eum circumducit ingentibus 'pecuniis.** James V. is, of 
course, an error for James IV. 

I Dathan. Flyting^ 1. 249. — See Numbers xvi. i. 

I DoiG, James. Of James Doig, Kepar of the Quenis Wardropj Of 

^ the same James, quhen he had plesett him; Of a Dance in the 

- Quenis Chalmer, 1. 199. — Doig, the pronunciation of whose name in 

Scotch in the same way as dog gave play to the wit of Dunbar (wbo 
had a liking for a pun — a form of humour more English than Scotch), 
was originally one of the servitors of James IV., having the charge 
of the king^s wardrobe, and there are constant references to him 
in the Treasurer's Accounts from 1489 onwards. In that year he 
' received three bonnets for the king at Linlithgow, when he was to 

meet the Spanish ambassador ; and there are similar entries of articles 

of clothing received for the king in 1494, 1495. ^^^ I497* ^^^ ^^^ o^ 

clothing given from the king's wardrobe to Perkin Warbeck, called 

I the Duke of York. On 30th October 1490, 20 " louys " were sent to 

' the king at Biggar by his hands ; and on the 3d Jiine 1491 he carried 

20 unicorns to the king at the Water of Leith. In 1494 he received 
\ a payment of 20s. to hang the arras and to furnish the king's cham- 

i ber for the reception of the Chancellor of Denmark. There are also 

sundry entries of livery given to him for his own use, and of pay- 
ments to him for the expenses of furnishing the king's Modgings 
(grathing of the king's chambers, and bent-silver for the grass with 
which the floors were strewn). Strewing the floors with g^rass 
. or rushes was a common custom before the days of carpets. 

\ There is a survival of it in the annual ceremony of the rush-bear- 

ing day, still celebrated in some English villages. The position 
of keeper of the wardrobe in Scotland, as in England, through 
the practice of giving rewards by liveries instead of money, which 
was scarce at the Scottish Court, became that of a sort of petty 
treasurer, who had much influence with the king, and whose favour 
was sought by the retainers of the Court. Doig had acquired suffi- 
cient means to buy the estate of Duntober, in Perthshire, on 12th 
May 1500 (* Privy Seal Register,* vol. ii. p. i). After the king's mar- 
riage he became wardrober to Queen Margaret, and continued in her 
service at least down to 1523, when Surrey writes on 24th October to 
Wolsey from Newcastle that James Doig, the Queen of Scots* servant. 


had come to him (Cotton MS., Calig., b. xvi. f. 31 1). His name last 
appears in December 1526. His son, James Doig» younger, had been 
appointed on 17th September 1524 yeoman of the king's wardrobe, 
with livery and duties, used and wont (* Privy Seal Register,' voL vii.) 
Doig had a grant of the ward and relief of Johnston of Drongey, and 
the marriage of his heir on 4th August 1523 (* Privy Seal Register,' 
vol. V. f. 152). 

The references to him in the poems of Dunbar well bring out his 
character as an old and trusty servant, zealous in discharging his 
duties to his mistress, and somewhat crusty to others. He was 
of the same stuff, in an earlier age, as Andrew Fairservice, and the 
old Scotch servants " who were master and mair " in the anecdotes of 
Dean Ramsay. 

Donald Owre. Against Treason : An Epitaph an Donald Owre. — 
Donald " Owre " — more commonly called " Dubh," the Black — was a 
son of Angus, Lord of the Isles, by a daughter, according to tradition, 
of the Earl of Argyle. This Angus was a natural son of John, Earl 
of Ross, forfeited for treason by James III. in the Parliament of 1475. 
He surrendered to the royal army, and his earldom was annexed to 
the Crown, and conferred on the second son of the king, Alexander, 
Earl of Ross and Archbishop of St Andrews. The rest of his estates, 
except Kintyre and Knapdale, were regp-anted to him, with remainder 
to his natural sons, Angus and John, and he was created a peer of 
Parliament under the title of Lord of the Isles. Angus, Lord of the 
Isles, was killed by an Irish harper at Inverness in 149a His son, 
Donald Dubh, was always treated by the Scottish Court as illegitimate. 
When an infant, about the year 1480, he was captured by the Earl of 
Athole, who delivered him to the Earl of Argyle, by whom he was kept 
in custody in the Castle of Inch Connell. Before 1494 he had escaped, 
and received for several years the king's pay (Exchequer Records). 
But in 1 501 we find him at the head of the Islanders and western 
clans as Lord of the Isles. In 1503 he wasted Badenoch, and the royal 
forces under Huntly had to be called out James in person, with his 
southern levy, crushed the rebellion in 1 505-1 506, when Donald Owre 
was taken prisoner and committed to the Castle of Edinburgh. Dun- 
bar's poem was probably written after this date, as Donald Owre, 
though forfeited as a traitor, was not executed. About forty years later 
he made his escape during the regency of Arran, and is described in 
a proclamation by the Privy Council as " Donald alleging himself 
of the Isles." He again attempted to establish his title by raising the 
clans of the west, and entered into a treaty with Henry VI 1 1. But 
failing in this attempt, he Red to Ireland, and died at Drogheda. 

The following extracts from the ' Black Book of Clanranald ' give 
the history, unfortunately without dates, of Donald Dubh, as it was 
related by the Macvurichs, the hereditary sennachies of the clan : — 









" Angus Og, son of Eoin [John], who was called the heir of Eoin, 
married the daughter of MacCaillin [Earl of Aigyle], and a disagree- 
ment arose between him and his father about the division of his 
territory, in consequence of which a war broke out between the chiefs 
of Innisgall and the tribe of Macdonald — the tribe having joined 
Angus and the chiefs Eoin. Eoin went to MacCaillin and gave him 
J all that lay between the river Add and the lands of Knapdale for going 

*i with him before the king to complain of his son. Shordy after Angus 

• Og had a large entertainment with the men of the north side at 

L Inverness, when he was murdered by Maclcairbhre, his harper. His 

\, father lived a year after him, and all the territories submitted to him, 

]i but he restored many of them to the king. The daughter of Mac- 

i Caillin, the wife of Angus, was pregnant when he was killed, and she 

^; was kept in custody until she was confined, and she bore a son, and 

Donald was g^ven as a name to him, and he was kept in custody until 
he arrived at the age of thirty, when the men of Glencoe brought him 
out by a Fenian exploit He came to Innisgall, and the nobles of 
Innisgall rallied round him. . . . And he and the Earl of Lennox 
made an agreement to raise a large army for the purpose of his getting 
into possession of his own property, and a ship came from England 
to Sound of Mull with money to help them in the war. The money 
was given to Maclean of Duart to divide among the leaders : they 
did not get as much as they desired, and therefore the army broke up. 
When the Earl of Lennox heard that, he dispersed his own army and 
made an agreement with the king. Macdonald [<>., Donald Dubh ?] 
then proceeded to him to request a force to carry on the war, and on 
his way to Dublin he died at Drogheda of a fever of four nights' ex- 
tent, leaving a son and a daughter." — Skene's * Celtic Scotland/ voL 
iii. pp. 404-406. 

This account identifies the Donald claiming to be Lord of the Isles, 
who headed the rising in 1545, and acted in concert with Matthew, 
Earl of Lennox, and Henry VIII., with the grandson of John, Earl of 
Ross, who was kept in custody by the Earl of Argyle from infancy to 
manhood; but it omits, probably by design, his earlier escape, his 
rising against James IV., and his reception when he was committed to 
the Castle of Edinburgh in 1505 or 1506. The view of Mr Tytler, that 
there were two Donalds, Lords of the Isles, in the sixteenth century, 
does not appear well founded. The credit of unravelling this tangled 
skein of Highland history is due to Mr Gregory, whom Mr Skene 
has followed. Mr Burton has not touched the subject, which is 
one of difficulty, and may yet receive further elucidation. — See 
Gregory's * History of the Western Highlands/ entries in index under 
*• Lord of the Isles, Donald Dubh," p. 437 ; Skene's * Celtic Scotland,' 
vol. iii. p. 299. 

DouNTEBOUR, Dame. Of a Dance in the Qjuenis Chalmer, 1. 36. — 


Supposed to be a cant name for a woman of light character. This is 
scarcely in accordance with the plan of the poem, which names in all 
other cases real persons ; but who is meant has not been discovered. 

Dunbar, Archibald. Flytingy 1. 299. — ^This Archibald Dunbar in 
the year 1446 took the castle of Hailes, in Haddingtonshire, but 
immediately afterwards surrendered it to James, Master of Douglas. 
This is the betrayal referred to here. The * Short Chronicle * of James 
II.'s reign relates the incident briefly : "The samyn yer Archebald of 
Dunbar tuke the Castell of Halis on Sanctandrowis day the Apostle 
and syn cowardlie g^ it owr to the Master of Douglas sodanlie ; " and 
Pitscottie says : " Archibald Dunbar seiged the castle of Hales in 
Lothian, and at the first assault he won the same and slew them all 
that he found therein ; but shortly thereafter he was seiged by James 
Douglas, in whose will he put himself and castle without any further 
debate." Hailes, a castle in Prestonkirk parish, belonged to the Hep- 
bums. Adam Hepburn of Hailes had taken part in the seizure of Dun- 
bar some years before, in the reign of James I., when George, eleventh 
Earl of Dunbar and March, had been forfeited and deprived of his 
estates. It appears from the Exchequer Accounts that he had the 
custody of Dunbar between 1440 and 1444; but soon after 15th July 
1445, when the Queen-Dowager died at Dunbar, Adam Hepburn gave 
it over by treaty to the king (' Short Chronicle,' p. 37). Patrick, his son, 
had again treasonably seized the castle before 28th April 1446, as appears 
from a letter of James II. of that date in the Coldingham Chartulary. 
The attack upon the house of Hailes was no doubt a retaliation for 
the part the Hepbums had taken in the seizure of Dunbar, — 

" Because the young lord had Dunbar to keep." 

Dunbar of Westfield. Flytingy 1. 388. — Sir Alexander Dunbar, son 
of James, Earl of Murray, by Isabel, daughter of Sir William Innes, 
was the founder of the family of Westfield in Moray, which held the 
hereditary sheriffdom of that district One of his descendants. Sir 
Alexander, married the daughter of Dunbar of Cumnock in 1474, and 
died in 1505. It is to him, probably, that the reference in the poem 
is intended ; or it may be no more than an allusion to the loyalty of 
the Westfield family, in contrast to the disaffection of the Dunbars of 
the south, who were attainted in the person of George, the tenth Earl 
of Dunbar and March, by James I. in January 1434. 

Edwart Langschankis. Flyting, 1. 270. — The Scottish nickname 

for Edward I. It was perhaps first given him in the old Scotch poem 

of which a fragment remains — 

"What brings Kinge Edwarde, with his lang shankjrs, 
To hae wonnen Berwik al our unthankys? 
Gaes pyke h3rniy 
And after gaes dyke hym." 



It is somewhat corrupted, but " presents," says Mr Murray, " charac- 
teristically northern inflections." 

Egeas. Flyting^ 1. 537. — iCgseon, son of Uranus by Gaia, is prob- 
ably intended. He and his brothers, Gyges and Cottus, called the 
Uranids in Greek mythology, were represented as monsters with a 
hundred arms and fifty heads. Homer says : " Men called him 
i£g^aeon, but the gods Briareus" (Iliad, i. 403). The Uranids sided 
with Zeus in his contest with, and victory over, the Titans (Hesiod, 
Theog., IL 147-153)- 

Egipya. Ffyting, 1. 53a — Egypt is represented as the mother, as 
Pharo is the father, of Dunbar. 

Eneas. Ffyting, 1. 539. — iCneas, the grandson of Tros, and son of 
Anchises by Aphrodite. It does not appear clear why Dunbar is 
called his kinsman in the "Flyting," but perhaps it was because 
iCneas forsook Dido. — See Chaucer, ' House of Fame,' vi. p. 203. 

EusTASE. Fly ting, 1. 321. — ^As Kennedy called Dunbar "Strait 
Gibbonis air" (1. 209), so Kennedy retorts here that Dunbar was "fals 
Eustase air,*' for the skill of the Flyter was shown by such quips; but 
who false Eustase was has not been discovered. 

Eyobulus. Ffyting, 1. 541. — It is not known who this is intended 

Francis, St. The Visitation of St Francis, 1. 2.— The founder 
and patron of the Franciscan Order, which had many houses in Scot- 
land. They were called Fratres Minores, or Minorites — a name given 
to them by St Francis himself as a token of humility, in distinction to 
the older Orders, the Canons Regular of St Augustine and the Bene- 
dictines — and sometimes Grey Friars, from the colour of their dress, 
which distinguished them from the Black Friars or Dominicans, and 
the Carmelites or White Friars. The Franciscans were divided into 
Conventuals — the original Order, established by St Francis of Assisi 
in 1206, and confirmed by Innocent III. in 1209; and Observantines, 
a reform by Bemardine of Siena, in the year 1419, who took their 
name from a claim to observe more strictly the rule of St Francis. 
The Conventuals, who came to Scotland in 12 19, had convents at 
Berwick, Roxburgh, Dumfries, Dundee, Haddington, Lanark, Kirk- 
cudbright, and Inverkeithing. The Observantines were first brought 
to Scotland by James I., who founded a convent of their Order in 
Edinburgh. Bishop Kennedy commenced, and Archbishop Graham, 
his successor, completed, a convent for them at St Andrews about 
1478. Bishop Laing of Glasgow founded one in 1476 in that city. 


The town of Aberdeen founded one in 1450^ the town of Ayr another 
in 1472, Lord Oliphant one in Perth in 1460, James IV. one in Stir- 
ling in 1494 (' Epistolae Regum Scotorum/ vol. i. p. 23), and they had 
also establishments at Elgin and Jedburgh. 

In 1 5 16 Patrick Panther, the secretary of James IV. and of the 
Regent Albany, obtained an Act of Parliament sanctioning the conver- 
sion of the House of the Virgin Mary at Montrose into an Observantine 
convent Henry VII. also favoured the Observantines, for whom he 
founded convents at Newark, Greenwich, and Richmond, and from 
whom, as his son-in-law James IV., he chose his confessor. The 
two kings resembled each other in their strict compliance with the 
rules of the Church as to attendance on divine service, doubtless an 
injunction of their confessors. There are traces that Observantine 
friars passing from England to Scotland played a part in political 
business. One of them was employed by Henry VIII. to remonstrate 
with Margaret for her conduct after her husband's death. The reform 
and new foundations of the Franciscans towards the close of the 
fifteenth century were probably due to the initiation of Sixtus IV., 
who had been a general of their Order. He confirmed and enlarged 
the privileges of both the Mendicant Orders, and specially favoured the 
tenets of the Franciscans, who were winning their way in popular 
theology. Two bulls in 1474 and 1479 mark the highest advance of 
the Mendicants : " Their exemption from the jurisdiction of the ordi- 
naries, the privileges of their churches, their power of hearing confes- 
sions and sidministering the sacraments against the will of parish 
priests, were acknowledged in ample terms. Moreover, Sixtus IV. 
strongly adhered to the favourite belief of the Franciscans in the 
immaculate conception of the Virgin." — Crichton, 'History of the 
Papacy,' vol. iii. p. 112. 

Dunbar the poet in all probability had become a novice in the 
house of the Observantines at St Andrews, founded the year before he 
took his degree of M.A at that University. The religious revival, for 
so it may be called, which led to the Observantine reform of the 
Franciscans, reached Scotland at this period, but if Dunbar is to 
be relied on, the reformed Franciscans were not more strict than 
the original Order. He was again brought into contact with these 
friars by the frequent resort of his i)atron James IV. to their house 
at Stirling for the purpose of penance, which the poet ridicules in his 
poem of the "Dirge to the King at Stirling." St Francis himself 
had been called to found his Order by a vision, and it seemed ap- 
propriate that his followers should also be converted by a vision of a 
saint. Such miracles were commonly believed in, and often made the 
subject of representation in art. Dunbar astonishes us by the boldness 
with which he makes the vision which appeared to him not St Francis, 
but a fiend who counterfeited the saint, in his poem, " The Visitation of 
St Francis." The order is again satirised in " The Freiris of Berwik." 


Gawane, Gawan, or Gavin. Ane Littill Interlud of the Droicfds 
part of the Play, I. 93. — Sir Gavin, one of the knights of the Arthurian 
legend, well known to Dunbar and the Scotch poets by the metrical tales 
of " Gawane and Gologras " and " Sir Gawan and Sir Galoran of Gallo- 
way, or the Awntyrs of Arthur." It was no obstacle to these romances 
forming part of the common stock of Scottish traditional poetry, that 
they had sprung from the British portion of the modem Scottish race, 
and that their scenes were usually in the western part of the island, 
and most frequently south of the modem Scottish border. In this poem 
Dunbar speaks in the mouth of the dwarf, who was descended from 
Fyn M'Coul, quite naturally of the " baims of Britain," along with 
King Arthur and Gavin, as dead before the dwarf could wield a spear. 
Gavin had become a common Christian name in Scotland, and had in 
Dunbar's time two eminent representatives — Gavin Douglas, the poet 
Bishop of Dunkeld, and Gavin Dunbar, Bishop of Aberdeen. 

GiRNEGA, St. The Tournament, 1. 44. — ^The patron saint of shoe- 
makers. Cf. "Sym Skynnar and Schir Gamega" in Rowles's 
" Cursing," 1. 99. Gimegae was a name for a peevish person (Jame- 
son's Dictionary). 

Gog and Magog. Flyting, 1. 528. — Wyntoun describes the hill 
near the Caspian, I. x., 1. 384 — 

" Thar Gog and Magog at felown wes, 
Qosyt ar in gret straytness." 

He also tells the story of Gog and Magog's wrestling-match with 
Coryn, King of Cornwall (I. vii., 1. 352 et se^.) See Fairholt*s * Gog 
and Magog' (London : Hotten, 1859), a small book of much leaming 
about giants. These are first named in the Old Testament — Genesis, 
ch. X., and i Chronicles v. 4. Their adoption in the mythical history 
of England was due to Geoffrey of Monmouth, who makes one Gog- 
Magog out of the two, and represents him as opposing Brutus on his 
invasion of Albion, and as killed in a wrestling-match with Corineus. 
The two grants in Guildhall are supposed to represent Gog-Magog 
and Corineus. 

GOLYAS. Fly ting, 1. 529. — Cf. Wyntoun : — 

'* In Egypt some men said alswa 
Geanties grewe, and of that kind 
Came Enathym, and off his strynd 
Came Golyath that Davy yhing 
Slew with the stane cast of a sling." — Vol. i. p. 21. 

See I Sam. xvii. 
GowER, John. Lament^ 1. 51. — Gower (1320- 1402), a poet who lives 


chiefly in the history of English literature, and whose poems are now 
read only by the students of that literature, and not by the lovers of 
poetry in itself. His chief work, ' Chronica Tripartita,' was to consist 
of three parts — 'Speculum Meditantis,' 'Vox Clamantis,' and 'Confessio 
Amantis.' The first does not exist, and perhaps was never written. 
The * Vox Clamantis/ which refers to the rising of Wat Tyler, was first 
printed by the Roxburghe Club. The ' Confessio Amantis' was most 
widely known from having been printed by Caxton in 1483, and fre- 
quently since, and on it the fame of Gower rests. It consists of a 
dialogue between a lover and his confessor, and is modelled upon the 
' Romance of the Rose,' by John de Meung. Except in the allegorical 
representation of such abstract ideas as Idleness, Avarice, &c, it is 
not in the style of Dunbar ; and his reference to Gower, with whose 
work he was no doubt acquainted, must be taken rather as a con- 
forming to the fashion of the times, which held Gower the next poet 
to Chaucer, than as an acknowledgment that Dunbar had really bor- 
rowed from him. Occleve, in his ' De Reg^mine Principum,' in like 
manner to Dunbar laments the death of Chaucer "flower of elo- 
quence " and " my master Gower." It is somewhat curious that the 
manuscript of some of Gower's minor poems in Latin, French, and 
English was acquired by Lord Fairfax, Cromwell's general, when in 
Scotland, from " that learned gentleman Charles Gedde, Esq., of St 
Andrews, in Scotland." This MS. is stated in the Roxburghe Club 
edition to be in the library of the Marquis of Stafford at Trentham ; 
E. Stengel — who has recently reprinted them in his ' Ausgaben aus 
dem Gebiete der Romanischen Philologie,' Marburg, 1886 — appears 
to have been informed that it now belongs to the EsltX of Ellesmere, 
but he failed to get access to it It may be hoped so interesting a 
MS. is not lost Who was Charles Gedde, the learned gentleman of 
St Andrews ? Sibbald, in his ' History of Fife,* p. 45, gives a Latin 
couplet by him on the light of the Isle of May, for which a tower was 
erected in 1635. 

Henry VII., while Earl of Richmond, had been a former owner of 
this MS. ; but it may have found its way to Scotland, and been seen 
by Dunbar. The poems in it are those printed for the Roxburghe 
Club in 18 1 8, and contain fifty ballades in French, which are more in 
the style, as regards metre, of Dunbar, than Gower's English work ; 
but they treat love, which is their topic, in a different spirit — Sec 
Warton's ' History of English Poetry,' Hazlitt's edition, 1871, vol. iii. 

pp. 15-37. 
Gower was a friend of Chaucer, who refers to him in the close of 

" Troilus and Creseide "— 

** O. moral Gower 1 this Boki I directe 
To the, and to the philosophical! Strode ; 
To yoocfasafe, where nede is, for to oorrecte, 
Of yoor benignitie and zeles gode." 


Gower repays the compliment in the ' Confessio Amantis,' written in 

1392-93, where Venus says — 

'* And grete well Chaucer when ye mete 
As my disciple and my poet" 

When Chaucer was sent on a mission to Lombardy in 1378, John 
Gower was one of two attorneys he nominated by a writ to act for him 
for one year. — See Sir Harris Nicholas's Life of Chaucer in Aldine 
Poets, p. 99. 

Gray, Walter. Testament of Mr Andro Kennedy, 1. 61. — Gray is 
described in this satirical poem as Master of St Antony — ^i>., the Hospi- 
tal of St Antony at Leith. He was master of it at the period when 
Dunbar wrote, but nothing more is known of him to justify the char- 
acter of mendacity given to him in these verses. — See Antane, Sanct 

Guy (Gy). Of Sir Thomas Norray, I. 28.— Sir Guy of Gysbume, 
a market-town in the West Riding of York, on the borders of Lanca- 
shire, was a daring knight who went out to slay Robin Hood, but 
met his own fate, as is described in the ballad, " Robin Hood and Guy 
of Gisbome" (Ritson's 'Ballads of Robin Hood,' vol. iv. p. Zy, 
Percy's ' Reliques,' vol. i. p. 56). He is not to be confounded with 
Guy of Warwick, the hero of an early metrical romance. — See Bevis. 

Hary, Blind; or, Harry the Minstrel. Lament, I. 69. — 
The author of " Wallace," one of the many minstrels of Scotland 
during the reigns of the first Stuarts. Major the historian, who 
lived to old age, and probably died in 1549 or 1550, states that dur- 
ing his infancy " Henry, a man blind from birth, composed from 
the traditions and wrote in the language of the common people, in 
which he was skilled, a complete book on William Wallace." He 
adds : " I g^ve credit to such writings only in part The author, by 
reciting his history before nobles, gained food and clothing, of which 
he was worthy." — Major's History, ed. 1740, p. 169. Blind Harry 
recited his poems at the Court of James IV., and received rewards for 
doing so. — See 'Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer,* pp. 133, 174, 
176, 181, and 184. The first of these references is on 26th April 
1490, when he received 18s. at Stirling, and the last on 2d Jan- 
uary 1492, when a payment of 9s. was made to him at Linlithgow. 
It is not improbable that he died soon after the latter of these 
dates. The date of the unique contemporary MS. of his poem on 
Wallace in the Advocates' Library is 1488. It is bound with a MS. 
of Barbour's "Bruce," and both were transcribed by John Ramsay of 
Lochmalonie, in Fife, but ** The Bruce," though bound first, was tran- 
scribed in the following year, 1489. 

Mr Laing, in the preface to " Gologras and Gawain," refers to frag- 
ments of an edition of Blind Harry's " Wallace " which he had seen, 
and considered to have been printed about 1508. But the first com- 


plete edition, of which there is a unique copy in the British Museum, 
was printed by Robert Lekprevik, at the expenses of Henry Charteris, 
1570, 4to. It has been repeatedly printed since. No poem was more 
popular in Scotland, and copies were to be found in many Scottish 
cottages, of which, with Barbour's " Bruce," it formed almost the only 
secular literature. The best edition till recently was that of Dr 
Jamieson ; but it has now been edited with a revised text and learned 
introduction by Mr Moir, of Aberdeen, for the Scottish Text Society. 
These poems supplied the Scottish people with themes which sup- 
planted the romantic adventures and gests of Arthur and of Robin 


"Wallace off hand, sen Arthur had na mak." 

Dunbar and Kennedy must both have been familiar with Blind 
Harry's poem. Dunbar showed a better appreciation of his genius 
than Major, when he gave him a place amongst the Scottish " mak- 
aris." Whatever may be thought of the value of his work in history — a 
problem on which the last word has not yet been said — Blind Harry 
was a true poet In his work and that of Barbour, Scotland 
already possessed two epic, or, as they might more properly be called, 
heroic poems. 

Hay, Sir Gilbert. Lament, 1. 67. — Sir Gilbert Hay, one of the many 
Scotchmen who took service in the Court of France, was Chamberlain 
to Charles VI. Mackenzie, * Lives of Scots Writers,' vol. iii. p. i, gives 
a meagre biography of Hay and a brief analysis of his works, of which 
he appears (p. 8) to have possessed a MS., perhaps that now in the 
Abbotsford Library. He was probably the son of Sir William Hay 
of Locharret, bom about the end of the fourteenth or beginning of 
the fifteenth century. He studied at St Andrews, where he became a 
Determinant or Bachelor, 1418, and Licentiate or Master of Arts, 1419. 
He went to France soon after, perhaps in the cai)acity of an archer 
in the Scottish Guard, whose origin may be traced to the reign of 
Charles VI., and he remained in France for tWenty-four years. The 
alliance between the two countries had been strengthened by the 
marriage of Margaret, eldest daughter of James I., to the Dauphin, 
afterwards LouisXI. On his return to Scotland Hay lived at Roslin with 
William Sinclair, third Earl of Orkney, the founder of Roslin Chapel, 
with whom he was perhaps connected by the marriage of a sister of 
Orkney to Hay of Enrol. By desire of the Earl, Hay translated in 1456 
three French works : (i) ' L'Arbre de Batailles,' an early treatise on in- 
ternational law, by Honore Bonnet, Prior of Salon, in France. The 
version in the Scottish vernacular in the Abbotsford Library is not 
yet printed, although it deserves to be so, both from its contents and 
as a specimen of Scottish prose prior to the fifteenth century. (2) ' Le 
Livre de I'Ordre de Chevelerie,' an anonymous work on knighthood 
which was translated by Caxton, and forms one of the rarest issues 


of his press. It was reprinted by Mr Beriah Botfeld for the Abbots- 
ford Club. (3) • Le Gouvemement des Princes/ a translation of a 
popular work of the middle ages, * Secretum Secretorum/ falsely at- 
tributed to Aristotle. Hay also translated a French metrical romance 
on Alexander the Great, at the request of Thomas, first Lord Erskine 
and second Earl of Mar of the name of Erskine, who died in 1494- 
It would appear from a note on the MS. of this translation that Hay 
had died some years previously. It has been reprinted by the Ban- 
natyne Club, 1831, from a MS. of Lord Breadalbane at Taymouth. 
Dunbar's reference suggests that Hay had written original poems, 
but if so, none have yet been discovered, and perhaps the- transla- 
tion of the romance or story of Alexander the Great sufficiently ac- 
counts for his being included in Dunbar's list of poets, along with 
the author of the "Adventures of Arthur." Few stories were more 
commonly treated by the romance-writers of the middle ^es than 
that of Alexander the Great, which gives its name to a special var- 
iety of verse, the Alexandrine (see Warton's 'History of English 
Poetry,' voL ii. p. 140). The translation by Hay does not show poeti- 
cal ability, but is of importance as a link in the connection between 
the poetry of France and Scotland at the time when Scottish poetry 
was still in its infancy. ^ 

Hector. Ballate against Evil Women, p. 267, 1. 32. 

Henryson, Robert. Lament, 1. 82. — This poet, the most import- 
ant of the precursors of Dunbar, flourished in the reigns of James 
III. and IV., and was probably bom not later than 1425. He does 
not appear to have been educated at St Andrews or Glasgow, but was 
incorporated or admitted " ad eundem " in the latter university on loth 
September 1462. He is described in its register as "venerabilis vir 
Magister Robertus Henryson in Artibus Licentiatus et in Decretis 
Bachelarius" — degrees which he had probably taken in Paris or Lou- 
vaine. He afterwards became master of the school at Dunfermline 
attached to the convent of Benedictines. He was also a notary public. 
He has generally been supposed to have belonged to the family of 
Henryson of Fordel ; but Laing has pointed out, in the memoir pre- 
fixed to his edition of Henryson's poems, Edinburgh, 1865, that there 
is no sufficient proof of this. The name was common, and two other 
persons who bore it in the sixteenth century were celebrated lawyers, 
and may have been relations of the poet, — James Henryson, the 
founder of the Fordel family, King's Advocate of James IV., and Lord 
Justice-Clerk in 1507 ; and Dr Edward Henryson, the author of several 
works on the civil law, who studied and taught the civil law at 
Bourges, and, passing as advocate in 1557, became one of the Com- 
missaries of Edinburgh in 1564, and died in 1585. There was also, 
by a curious and scarcely fortuitous coincidence, a John Henryson, 


"master of the grammar school within the Abbey of Dunfermline" 
i'^ '573- Further details of the family will be found in the memoir 
prefixed to Laing's edition of Henryson's poems. 

Herod. Ffyting, L 537. — Herod, the tetrarch of Galilee, who killed 
John the Baptist, is made by Kennedy, in this satirical fictitious 
genealogy of Dunbar, his "othir eme" — />., apparently uncle on the 
mother's side, as Vespasian was his uncle on the father's. — See Jamie- 
son's Diet, Supplement, sub voce "Eme." 

Heryot. Lament, 1. 54. — This poet is not known by any other 
mention of his name or by any extant poems. 

Hew, Sir, of Eglinton. Lament^ 1. 53. — ^A person of this name 
and family distinguished himself in the reigns of David II. and 
Robert II., and probably lived 1320-1376. He was knighted by 
David II. (according to a conjecture of Dr Irving) in 1342, for his 
services in the English wars, but was afterwards taken prisoner by 
Robert Ogle (Wyntoun*s 'Chronicle,' Book viii. 1. 6007 ; vol. ii. p. 468 
of Laing's ed.) In 1361 he was Justiciary of Lothian, and in 1367 a 
commissioner for negotiating a treaty with England. He married 
Egidia, half-sister of Robert II., and widow of Sir James Lindsay of 
Crawford (Irving*s * History of Scottish Poetry,* p. 82). This was 
probably the poet His name frequently occurs in accounts of the 
Great Chamberlain from 1348 to 1375 ; and in the 'Rotuli Scotorum/ 
vol. i. p. 822, and other places, mention is made of safe-conducts 
granted to him for journeys to England. He died in 1381, and his 
widow married Sir James Douglas of Dalkeith. His daughter Eliza- 
beth was the ancestress of the Earls of Eglinton, who received that 
title in 1507. 

No poems with the name of Sir Hew of Eglinton are known. On 

the other hand, there lived in the fourteenth century a Scottish poet, 

commonly called Huchown of the Awle Royale (Royal Hall or Aula 

Regia), and it is a question which affords much room for ingenious 

criticism whether he is the same person as Hew of Eglinton. Wyn- 

toun, who wrote soon after Huchown's death, says — 

*' He made the gret Gest ofif Arthure, 
And the Awntyre ofif Gawane, 
The Pystyll also ofif swete Susane. 
He was ctiryws in hys style, 
Fayre ofif facund and subtille. 
And ay to plesans and del]rte 
Made in metyie mete his dyte, 
Lytill or nowcht nevyrtheles 
Waverand fra the suthfastness." 

— Vol. xii. 1. 4324 ; Laing's ed., vol. iu p. ix 

Three poems have been preserved, which, although this point 


has been disputed by Mr Morris on linguistic grounds, answer so 
exactly to those named by Wyntoun that it would be singular if 
the same three subjects had been treated about the same date by a 
second author. The first of them is published by Mr Morris in * Early 
English Alliterative Poems,' Early English Text Society, from a MS. 
written by Robert of Thornton, Archdeacon of Bedford, 1439, in the 
Lincoln Cathedral Library. This poem fairly answers to " The gret 
Gest of Arthure " or " Gest Historicale " of the above passage of Wyn- 
toun ; and Mr McNeill has shown, in a learned paper in the ' Scottish 
Review,* March 1888, that the defence of Huchown by Wyntoun for 
the supposed error of calling Lucius, the contemporary of Arthur, Em- 
peror instead of Procurator, against some critic of his time, actually 
applies to this poem. Such a coincidence is more conclusive than 
the dialect which led Mr Morris (but Professor Schipper differs as to 
this) to ascribe it to a writer south of the Scottish border. 

The second poem, according to Mr McNeill, is the romance of " Sir 
Gawane and the Grene Knight," printed for the Bannatyne Club, under 
the editorship of Sir F. Madden, and by the Early English Text 
Society in 1864, from a MS. (Cotton. Nero A x) in the British Museum, 
of which a full analysis is given by Mr McNeill and also by Ten 
Brink (' Early English Literature,* p. 337). It is very similar in 
nature and style to the first poem ; and though Morris, followed by 
Ten Brink and some German scholars, assigns its dialect to Lancashire, 
Morris admits that it is not improbable it may have been copied from 
a Scottish poem. It must not be overlooked, however, that there arc 
several other poems in which Gawane figures that may contend for 
the honour of being by Huchown, as that of " Sir Gawane and Golo- 
gras** (printed by Pinkerton, 1792, and Bannatyne Club), and "Sir 
Gawane and Galoran of Galloway," now commonly called "The 
Awntyrs of Arthur at the Tern Wathelan " (printed by Pinkerton, 
Madden, and Laing), of which there are three MSS. — See Laing, 
* Select Remains/ 2d. ed., p. 84. The third poem is the " Pystil of 
swete Susan,** printed by Laing, 'Select Remains* (p. 167), from the 
Vernon MS. in the Bodleian. Whether "The Pearl," "Cleanness or 
Purity,'* and " Patience," three poems of a moral or religious caste, 
also in the same MS. collections as " Sir Gawane and the Grene 
Knight," are by Huchown, as Mr McNeill contends, is more doubtful ; 
but even without these, "Huchown of the Aule Royale'* must have 
been a poet of considerable mark in the age before Barbour. 

The identification of him with Sir Hew of Eglinton is not absolutely 
proved, but is highly probable. Huchown is an old Scottish diminutive 
for Hugh. The public offices and royal connection of Sir Hew of 
Eglinton make it not unlikely that he should be called " of the Royal 
Hall." The alliterative style of the three poems corresponds with the 
poetic diction in use during Sir Hew*s life. Dunbar is not likely to 
have omitted in his list so important a name as Huchown of the Awle 


Royale. Chalmers^ followed by Laing, are g^eat authorities in sup- 
port of the identification. On the other hand, no poem bears the 
name of Hew or of Eglinton, and Hew of Eglinton held no office 
specially attached to the royal person. Mr Morris and the German 
scholars generally are against the identification, on the ground that 
these poems are not in the Scottish but rather in Midland English 
dialect On the whole, the writer of this note is inclined to accept 
the conclusion of Mr McNeill, in whose paper will be found addi- 
tional arguments in its support The subject will no doubt be further 
elucidated by the editor of the forthcoming volume of Scottish Allit- 
erative Poems for the Scottish Text Society. 

HiLLHOUSE, Laird of. Flyting, 1. 515. — Probably Sir John Sandi- 
lands of Hillhouse in Linlithgowshire, frequently referred to in the 
Records between 12th July 1480 ('Acta Dominorum Concilii *) and 8th 
December 1501 ('Treasurer's Accounts*). He appears to have been 
employed in the Artillery service, from the entries in these accounts 
of nth September 1496 and 31st July 1497 ; and he received on 8th 
December 1501, 28s., when "he cam furth of Ingland from the 
Lordis, be the Kingis command." This was the embassy on which 
Dunbar also served, so he probably was a friend of the Laird, as 
Kennedy describes him as " air to Hillhouse." 

Holland. Lament, 1. 61. — Sir Richard Holland, the author of the 
" Howlatt," a poem written in the reign of James IL, about 1453, in the 
alliterative style. Holland was a follower of the Douglases, and his 
poem is perhaps a satire on James IL, though this has been doubted. 
It is preserved in the Bannatyne and Asloan MSS., and has been printed 
by Pinkerton, 'Collection of Scottish Poems,' 1792, vol. iii.; and for the 
Bannatyne Club, 1823, by Laing, and more recently by Mr Donaldson 
(Gardiner, Paisley). The " Howlatt " is alluded to by Blind Harry in 
his description of the battle of Falkirk, and Holland is mentioned by 
Lyndsay in the Prologue to the " Complaint of the Papingo." 

Homer. The Goldyn Targe, 1. 67. — The first edition of a Greek 
Homer was printed at Florence, by Demetrius Chalcondylas, in 1488. 
But Homer was probably known to Dunbar only at third hand from 
Lydgate's ' Troy Book,' which was copied from Guido de Colonna's 
' Historia Trojana,' written in the 13th century, and itself taken from 
Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis. George Dundas, Master of 
the Knights of St John of Jeruselem, a younger contemporary of 
Dunbar, is described in 1522 by Boece, in his ' Lives of the Bishops of 
Dunkeld,' as learned in Greek as well as Latin, and probably was one 
of the first Scotchmen who knew Greek well. There is no reason to 
suppose that Dunbar had any knowledge of it 

James IV. Poems to the King^ passim ; The Thistle and the Rose, 


p. 113 ; Of Demingy p. 92 ; and other poems.— James IV. was king 
during Dunbar's manhood and prime. At his Court the poet lived, and 
to or for him, in the first instance, his chief poems were written. 
Although it is not the intention of these notes to draw histcnical 
characters at fiill length, it is necessary to give an outline of the 
reign of James in its bearing on the life and poetry of Dunbar. 
The eldest son of James and Margaret of Denmark, James IV. 
was bom on 17th March 1472, so was about twelve years Dunbar's 
junior. He succeeded to the crown by the death of his Either at 
Sauchie on nth June 1488. Three years after, Dunbar probably 
entered the royal service. In that year, 1491, the first of a series 
of embassies, which seriously aimed at securing the king's mar- 
riage, for it had been talked of since the commencement of his reign, 
was sent to France. Besides renewing the ancient league, it was 
directed to search for a wife to the king, who was to be a ^ noble 
princess, bom and descended from some worshipfid house of ancient 
honour and dignity." The embassy was to consist of a bishop, an 
earl, a lord of Parliament, and a clerk. The bishop chosen was Blackr 
adder of Glasgow ; the earl was Hepburn, Lord Bothwdl ; the lord of 
Parliament was Lord Monypenny. There is reason to suppose that 
Dunbar may have been the clerk, for they sailed in the Catherine from 
North Berwick, the vessel in which Dunbar is said in the ** Flyting" to 
have gone to France. His entry into the royal service was thus 
intimately connected with the marriage of the king, which must have 
been for many years a subject constantly in his thoughts. James him- 
self was not anxious to be fettered by matrimony. Besides other less 
honourable connections — one of which is described in " The Kinges 
Wowing quhen he wes in Dumfermeling" — he had formed an attach- 
ment for Margaret, the daughter of Lord Drummond. It was even 
reported that he obtained a dispensation from the Pope allowing 
him to marry her. This would have been required, not on account of 
her inferior rank, but of her relationship ; for a member of her family, 
Annabella, had married Robert 111., and another had been the second 
wife of David II. A royal marriage might seem not beyond the am- 
bition of the Drummonds. Some such hope probably tempted the 
daughters of other nobles, both before and after Margaret Drummond, 
to accept the position of mistress of the king. None of them seem to 
have had the same place in his affections as Margaret Drummond. The 
poem, set to a popular air, " On Tayis Bankis," describes her when 
resident at her father's house of Stobhall perhaps in the language of 
her lover. She was treated with great state, and bore him a daughter 
in 1497. Though the Spanish ambassador Ayala states that he 
then sent her to her father and married her to a nobleman, there 
is no other proof of this. The connection between them probably 
continued until the marriage negotiations with Henry VII. in 1501. 
Margaret Drummond and two sisters died at one time in 1502, and it 


is not wonderful that this gave rise to rumours of poisoning, which 
were not dispelled during the whole of James's reign. Suspicion 
pointed, some said, to the Kennedys, a family which also produced 
a royal mistress ; but according to a letter of Queen Margaret to 
Dacre in 1523, to Lord Fleming, the husband of one of Margaret 
Drummond's own sisters. Her death again awakened the often 
sensitive but often slumbering conscience of James, who had felt 
deeply the death of his father on the field of Stirling. Masses were 
sung till the close of his reign for Margaret Drummond at Dunblane, 
where she was buried, as they were for his father and mother at 
Cambuskenneth, at Tain, and in the Blackfriars* Church in Edinburgh 
(see Dickson, Preface, * Treasurer's Accounts,' ccxxx.) The pilgrimages 
of James to St Duthac's at Tain and to St Ninian's at Whithorn, his 
retreat at Easter to the Convent of the Observants at Stirling, which 
he had founded and from whom he received a confessor, and the 
iron belt he wore, were acts of expiation which reveal in part the 
secrets of the confessional. But James was unstable and incontinent. 
Historians have remarked a curious proximity between the places of 
his pilgrimage and the residences of his mistresses. Dunbar's poem 
of ''Beauty and the Prisoner" probably refers to the abandonment 
for a time of illicit connections when *^ Matremony, that nobill king," 
banished '' Sklander to the west se cost" James was too energetic 
to devote his whole time either to love or to religion. He had been 
plunged when a youth of sixteen into the duties of manhood. The 
example of his father warned him against leaving the government in 
any hands but his own. He b^^ his reign by suppressing the re- 
bellion of Lord Lennox and Lord Lyle, and he easily crushed the 
conspiracy of Ramsay, Lord BothweU, for delivering him into the 
hands of the English. In 1494, and again in the following year, he 
visited the Western Isles. The first important episode in his reign 
was the support he gave to the adventurer Perkin Warbeck, who 
came to Scotland in 1495. J^^mes recognised him as Duke of York, 
gave him his kinswoman Lady Catherine Gordon, daughter of Lord 
Huntly, in marriage, and twice supported him in raids on the north of 
England. Whether James was reaily deceived, or, like the Duchess 
of Burgundy, allowed himself to be deceived, as to the real origin of 
Perkin, is uncertain. He refused to g^ve him up to Henry VIL, and 
when Perkin sailed for Ireland in July 1497, it was in a ship fitted out 
at the royal cost. The king and Perkin parted with compliments, as 
became a host and his guest But the negotiations with Henry VIL, 
promoted by the diplomatic skill of Fox, Bishop of Durham, and the 
goodwill of the Spanish ambassador, who thus escaped from a promise 
to find him a Spanish princess as a bride, were already on foot A 
truce was signed at Ayton on 30th September 1497, to last for seven 
years. James had reached what the Scotch law called the perfect age 
of twenty-five years in 1498. The truce with England, converted into 


a peace by the marriage treaty of 1502, enabled him to apply hirasdf 
to the afi&irs of his own kingdom, and he proved himself a vigorous 
monarch. With the counsel of Sir Andrew Wood, he developed the 
Scottish navy. He never tired of expeditions to the most remote 
parts of his kingdom — the Highlands or the Isles, Ross or Galloway — 
for the purpose of suppressing rebellion and of administering justice. 
He reformed the courts by the institution of new sheriffdoms in the 
Highlands, and of the Daily Council at Edinburgh, to which there are 
many allusions by Dunbar, as well as the special poem ^Tidings from the 
Session," which shows that the reform was not so thorough as might 
have been desired. Inheriting his father's taste for building, he con- 
tinued the improvements at the royal palaces of Holyrood, Linlithgow, 
Stirling, and Falkland. The interests of agriculture were promoted by 
statutes favouring the tenure of feu-farm and protecting the imple- 
ments of poor husbandmen from distress ; those of trade by patting 
down piracy, as well as by treaties and correspondence with foreign 
powers. He appears to have been really kindly to the poor, not merdy 
a distributor of official charity. He furthered education by the statute 
requiring all barons to send their sons to school to learn Latin at the 
age of nine, and after school to the Schools of Art and Jure (Law), as 
the Universities are called in the Act, to fit themselves for judicial 
duties ; and he aided the wise efforts of Bishop Elphinston to create 
a northern University, which received the name of the King's College, 
at Aberdeen, in 1500. At the instance of the same prelate he intro- 
duced a few years later, in 1507, the art of printing into Scotland, to 
which there is reference in one of Dunbar's poems, as was natural in 
the first Scotch poet who saw his own poems in print. The education 
of James, according to the Spanish ambassador, embraced six foreign 
languages — Latin, French, German, Flemish, Italian, and Spanish— 
as well as the Scotch and Gaelic of his own subjects. He was well 
read in history, both Latin and French, and familiar with the Bible 
and books of devotion. The same observer, whose narrative is 
evidently highly coloured, praises the king, as befitted the repre- 
sentative of Ferdinand the Catholic, for his observance of the 
offices of the Church; his favour for priests, especially the Friars 
Observant ; his justice, liberality, truthfulness, courage, and good 
judgment. Erasmus, who was also something of a courtier, and to 
whom James intrusted the education of his favourite natural son, 
Alexander, afterwards Archbishop and Chancellor, joins in this pane- 
gyric : " His personal appearance was such, that from a distance 
you would recognise the king. He had a wonderful force of intellect, 
an incredible knowledge of all things, an invincible magnanimity, the 
sublimity of a truly royal heart, the largest charity, and the most 
profuse liberality. There was no virtue which became a great prince 
in which he did not so excel as to gain the praise even of his 


But while the credit of these varied talents and of activity and fore- 
sight in government cannot be denied, there were points of weakness 
in his character, almost un¥rittingly revealed even by his panegyrists, 
which become palpable the more we search the records of his reign, 
and which, overpowering all his virtues, produced its lamentable 
dose. His liberality was pushed to extravagance, and Buchanan 
remarks that he so impoverished the Exchequer that he had to resort 
to odious measures to replenish it. His courage became rashness. 
His general good judgment was perverted into n^lect of the judgment 
of others, even on subjects they knew better. His zeal for loiowledge 
of all kinds led him to dabble in unworthy and dangerous subjects, — 
not merely the rude b^innings of scientific experiments, but aichemy 
and astrology, which made him the prey of impostors. His outward 
pijsty, which was constant, was the expression of a religious feeling 
which was intermittent, and led to startling inconsistencies. Worst of 
all, his licentiousness corrupted not merely his own morals, but those of 
his Court, and was neither restrained by marriage, nor, if we credit the 
story of Lady Ford, by the duties or the dangers of war. 

The periods from 1501 to 1503, and again from 1507 to 1508, were 
the most brilliant of his reign, and it is for these that Dunbar's poetry 
affords the most important light In the former period his marriage 
with Margaret Tudor was at last consummated. In the embassy of 
Lord Bothwell and Archbishop Blackadder to England in 1501, 
Dunbar went probably as a notary, or clerk, who could if required 
play the poet at the Court of Henry, which appreciated rather than 
possessed poetical talent His poems confirm the remark of Bacon 
as to the popularity of the marriage in London, whose inhabitants did 
not share the hatred of the English Borderers for their Scotch neigh- 
bours. They express also the sympathy of a Lowland Scot inclined to 
England with an event it was hoped would end the enmity between 
the two nations, and perhaps unite their crowns. Bacon, writing after 
the Union, even hints that the popular instinct foresaw it Certainly 
it was discussed as a possibility by the kings and their minbters, for 
only a single life then intervened between Margaret and the English 
succession. The saying of Henry VII. is well known, that if the 
marriage led to a Union, the larger would attract the smaller country. 
James, a monarch given to magnificence, was determined the pomp of 
his nuptials should be worthy of the occasion. Masques and plays, 
hunts and tournaments, were followed by banquets, dances, and 
songs. Dunbar, now again in Scotland, was employed as the Court 
poet It has been conjectured in the introduction that his all^ories of 
the ** Goldyn Targe" and ^ Beauty and the Prisoner" were composed 
in contemplation of the marriage. '^The Thistle and the Rose" was 
certainly written for it ** The Ballad to the Queen " was probably 
sung after the banquet at Holyrood on the evening of the marriage, 
8th August 1503. Amongst the amusements of the time it seems 


almost certain that the ^' Interlud of the Droichis part of the Play** 
was represented, possibly by John Inglis and his compaoy, who had 
come with the Queen from England, more probably by some rival 
Scotch players. In this singular poem the Dwarf or Droich, who is 
descended, strangely enough, from Highland ancestors, partly in jest, 
partly it may be to represent the distant origin of the Scottish 
monarchy, narrates in a boisterous style of jollity that he has come 
to dwell in Edinburgh. No guest would have been less welcome to 
the Edinburgh citizens of that age than a full-bred Highlander. Theo, 
by one of those surprises in which Dunbar delighted, the Dwarf turns 
out to be a Giant, Wealth, who had determined to take up his abode in 
the Scottish capital in preference to Turkey, the realm of the Soudan, or 
Lombardy, in which the French armies had created dearth. The 
lawless condition of the Scandinavian kingdoms, and even of the 
States of the Low Countries, made them undesirable. Ireland was 
still worse. Dunbar's lines on it may seem sadly prophetic, but are 
not, it may be hoped, final :— 

•• Yrland for evir I half reffusit, 
AH wyismen will hald me excusit, 
For nevir in land quhair Eriche was vsit, 
To dwell had I dellyte." 

The preference of Wealth for Edinburgh, a poor capital, was sure to 
delight the auditors ; nor could any occasion be more suitable for the 
suggestion than the king's marriage. Money was then flowing freely 
into the town, and the English alliance gave hopes of profitable trade. 
Such, at least, seems the secret meaning of this poem, which can only 
be read by the use of an historical key. 

In the year 1507, and the first half of 1508, the bright aspect of 
James's reigpi was still in the ascendant. The king was courted 
by foreign powers. His administration of home affairs had been in 
the main successful. The Court was more brilliant than it had ever 
been in Scotland. A small and poor country had attained a European 
position it had never before possessed. But there was no longer the 
high excitement of the time of the marriage festivities. Even the few 
years which had passed had disappointed some hopes. Dunbar's 
poems faithfully reflect this change. The queen, too early married, 
had not borne an heir who survived infancy, and a " plant was still 
desired of her succession." The king had shown, indeed, great 
energy in suppressing the rising of Black Donald of the Isles ; but 
in the opinion of others besides Dunbar there had been undue 
leniency in extirpating treason, as the poet indicated in his " Epi- 
taph on Donald Owre," whose life had been spared. It was a testi- 
mony to the soundness of this judgment that the Highland fox, 
many years after, again broke loose, and had to be hunted out of 
the country. These amusements of the Court, serviceable enough as 
an occasional diversion from the strain of serious work, had become its 


chief business, as is described in the poem of '' Solistaris in Court" 
They had exceeded the permissible bounds of folly when a fool like 
Sir Thomas Norray was knighted, and a tournament held in honour 
of a Blackamoor woman, and an abbacy conferred on a charlatan 
like Damian. The poet's own circumstances, no doubt, heightened 
his satire, but his empty purse was a symptom of the poverty to which 
the exchequer had been reduced. There was no measure in the 
demands or in the success of the hangers-on of the Court, as he 
points out in his poems on Discretion in Asking, Giving, and Taking. 
The vacant benefices were recklessly given away. The courts of 
justice were beset with suitors and others who had no desire for 
justice, and were even themselves corrupt, as is portrayed in " Tidings 
from the Session," and the poem of '^ Lady Solistaris." 

In the latter half of 1508 the handwriting could be seen on the wall, 
and the Scotch poet was quick, like the Hebrew prophet, to read and 
declare its meaning. He detected what escaped Uie common eye, the 
rottenness which underlay the apparent bloom. Sickness and Death 
were the teachers of a careless and dissolute generation. Dunbar had 
already, at an earlier period, spoken a warning word, as in the poem 
to the queen on the profligacy of her courtiers ; but now he was himself, 
perhaps for the first time, really alarmed. In his own sickness, his 
thoughts turned to the dead and dying poets, one of them his chief 
rival, K^medy, and he wrote '* The Lament for the Makaris." The 
death of the brave D'Aubigny imposed on Dunbar the task of writing 
an elegy only a short month after he had written a panegyric No 
sermon could have been half so scathing a censure of the vices of the 
Court as ''The Dance of the Sevin Deidly Synnis." In 1509 occurred 
the death of Henry VII., soon followed by that of the grandmother of 
the queen, the wise and virtuous Countess of Richmond. The acces- 
sion of Henry VIII. produced altered and strained relations between 
the two Courts, so closely connected that there was no room for any 
mean between love and jealousy. Instead of a loving father and 
pacific king, James and Margaret had now to reckon with a grasping 
brother and a king who would tolerate no will but his own. A series 
of comparatively trifling disputes during the next four years led to a 
complete rupture between Scotland and England. The precipitancy 
of James led to the brief war in which he himself perished, and his 
kingdom was all but ruined. Henry VIII., on his accession, refused 
to deliver the jeweb left by his father to his sister, the Scottish queen. 
In 1 5 10, Andrew Barton, after Wood the most distinguished naval 
commander of Scotland, was killed, and his ships taken by Howard, 
the English High Admiral When James demanded redress, he got 
for answer that the £ate of pirates should not be a question between 
princes. Andrew Ker, about the same time, avenged the death of his 
father. Sir Robert, by killing Starhead, an English subject, in cold 
blood, and fixing his head on the Edinburgh Tolbooth. In 15 11 


Henry formed a league with Ferdinand of Spain, the Emperor Maxi- 
milian, the Pope Julius II., and the Venetians, against France. 

In 15 12 James renewed the ancient alliance of his country with 
France, and received a ring from Anne of Brittany, its queen, as a 
sign that he was to be her champion. Both kings now occupied them- 
selves with preparations for war; but Henry, before proceeding in 
person to France, sent two embassies under Dr West to his brother- 
in-law to attempt to detach him from the French alliance. West was 
received with courtesy, but civilly dismissed. It was plain to all that 
war was inevitable. In the beginning of April 1513) a new league 
was formed on the accession of the new Pope, Leo X., between the 
same great European Powers against France, and on 50th June 
Henry crossed the Channel and opened hostilities by the si^^e of 
Terouenne. While in his camp before that town, the Ross Herald 
arrived with a declaration of war. On the day of his departure, Arran 
was sent with the Scotch fleet — to prepare which had been a darling 
object of James — to aid France, but, in treasonable disobedience of 
orders, sailed to Ireland. Before his return, James had crossed the 
Border, imprudently accepted the challenge of Surrey to fight, on 
Friday, the 9th of September, at Flodden, where he fell, surrounded 
with the flower of his prelates, nobles, and commons. It was the same 
Surrey who, only twdve years before, had brought Margaret Tudor 
as a bride to Edinburgh, and of whose influence with James she had 
felt a girlish jealousy. His body, found with difficulty — for he had 
put several men into the same dress he wore — but identified by 
several persons, amongst others Sir John Forman, the brother of 
the bishop, and Lord Dacre, — was carried to Berwick. According 
to the view of Leo X., an ally of Henry, James had broken the 
treaty with Henry VII., which he had made under pain of excom- 
munication for its breach ; and on the recital that James, when 
dying, had shown some signs of penitence such as could be shown 
at such an hour, the Pope, on 29th November 15 13, went through 
the solemn mockery, at Henry's request, of issuing a bull allowing 
Henry to bury his dead enemy in St Paul's. It is doubtful whether 
this licence was used. According to Stow, the corpse lay at the Con- 
vent of Shene till its dissolution, where he saw it in the reign of 
Edward VI. ; after which " the workmen for their foolish pleasure 
cut off the head," and the body only reached its last resting-place 
in some obscure churchyard in London, at the hands of Lancelot 
Young, Master Glazier of Queen Elizabeth. 

It was hinted in Scotland that James had not been killed, for 
no body was found on the field with the iron belt. Busy rumour 
told various tales — that he had secretly gone to Jerusalem to fulfil 
a vow, or that he had been slain, not in battle but in flight. But there 
seems no doubt that he fell fighting. Courage was the one quality 
of a general he possessed ; in all others he was lacking. By declaring 


war against the advice of his Council and the wish of many of his 
subjects ; by dallying at Ford to enjoy the company of its lady, ac- 
cording to a constant tradition of early date on both sides of the 
Border; by fighting on the ground chosen by Surrey, against the 
remonstrance of Lindsay of the Byres and Angus Bell-the-Cat ; by 
recklessly exposing his own person, he maintained to the last the 
unwise obstinacy which was one of his characteristics. 

Dunbar was silent after Flodden. Apart from his religious poems, 
there are only the single poem to the Queen-Dowager and the two 
relating to the R^ent Albany which can be ascribed to a later date. 
The troubles of Scotland which followed during the minority of James 
V. may be a sufficient reason for this silence. Had he spoken, what 
would have been his judgment on a reign he had watched so keenly and 
a king he had so long served and counselled? He was not given 
to the pathetic feeling which moved the hearts of so many Scottish 
poets, both at the time and later, to weep for their countrymen who 
fell at Flodden. If he wrote, it must have been either an invective on 
the cause of the deaths which put every town and family into mourn- 
ing, or a lament on the uncertainty of life and the vanity of earthly 
things. It was, in fact, in the latter vein that he composed the poems 
of his later period, if the date of his religious poems has been correctly 

John, Sanct Ffytingj L 124. — St John the Baptist, or a hermit of 
the same name, but what the special allusion is to hiding his eyes 
with a wimple has not been discovered. 

JOHNNE THE Reif. Schir^ p't remembir as of befoir^ L 33. — The 
hero of an old English poem of the end of the fourteenth century. 
Douglas refers to the same poem in the '^ Palice of Honour " : — 

" I saw Raf Col^ear with his thrawn brow. 
Cmkit JohDe the Reif. and auld Cockelbie*s Sow,'* — 

and by Sir D. Lyndsay, who refers to Archbishop Beatoun as '*bot 
disgyset like John the Reif^ he said,'' in the "Testament of the 
Papingo." It is in Bishop Percy's Folio MS., and relates to an ad- 
venture between Edward I. and one of his reeves or bailiffs. It has 
been printed in Laing's 'Ancient Popular Poetry of Scotland,' 2d 
edition, p. 46. 

Johnston, Patrick. Lament^ L 71. — A person of this name is 
mentioned in the Exchequer Rolls and Treasurer's Accounts in the reign 
of James III. as performing plays before the king at Christmas and 
Shrovetide 1476 (voL viiL p. 33 ; and 1477 and Christmas 1478, p. 512). 
He seems to have been a man of substance, and to have had grants of 
lands or rents from the king (vol ix. pp. 16, 106, 172, 243, 400, 466, 


641). From tbe entry, 8th November 1486^ he ap pe ars to hatwe had 
the liferent of the lands called Kingsfield, near Linlithgowr, no doobt 
as a payment for his senrices. He appears on $th Ai^ust 14SS 
as apparently the chief of the players at linlithgov who played 
before the )dDgf and he is again mentioned in the same character in 
the following year, where the entry is to ** Patrick Johnson and his 
^owis that i^yt a play to the Idi^ at Lythgow.* Payments were 
made to him at Epiphany 1489 and 1490^ whidi is the last mentian 
of his name: His association with other persons who r ece iv ed pay- 
ments at the same time appears to indicate that he may have been 
one of the clerks at the king's chapd. The dioristersy both clerks 
and boys, frequently took part in the early masques and plays. James 
111. is said to have doubled the number of these at the Chapd Royal, 
so that half of them might be free to contribute to his amosement in 
this way, while the other half sang in its senrices (Accounts of the 
Lord High Treasurer, Preface, Ixzvii., zdL, cczzzix., and ccxliv., and 
pp. 91, 118, 128, 174). In the accounts rendered for the period from 
1 2th June 1494 to 14th August 1495, Johnston is referred to as dead 
(Exch. Rolls, voL x. pp. 33, 177, 276, 3301, 408, 495). As he was liv- 
ing at a period of the former account, he must have died soon after 
1 2th June 1494. 

JOK THE FuLE. Testanufit of Andro Kennedy^ L 73. — Laing sup- 
poses this was ^ John Walass " the fool, sometimes called '* Daft Jok 
the Fule," who was with the king at St Andrews, October 1504, and 
for whose " tyrment" or burial i6s. was paid on 19th June 1508. But 
Kennedy seems to refer to some richer fool, as he says of him : — 

" Of corae and cattail, gold and fe. 
Ipse habet valde multum. 
And 3it he bleris my lordis £ 
Fingendo eum fore stultura." 

— See Bute, Curry, Norray. 

JONET THE Weido. Lucitia schynnytig in silence of the nicht^ L 34. 

One of the witches of Scotch tradition. The besoms or brooms of the 
witches are referred to in a trial for witchcraft (Pitcaim's * Criminal 
Trials,' voL iii. p. 608). 

JUDAS IscARiOT. Flyting, 1. 524.--The juxtaposition of his name 
with " Jew, Juglour, Lollard laureate," is characteristic of Kennedy, who 
wrote against the Lollards in another poem, and afTords proof that this 
part of " The Flyting " was really written by Kennedy. 

KENNEDY, Andrew. Testament of Andro Kennedy, ^K person of 
this name appears in the Treasurer's Accounts, 21st August 1502- 
« Item, For ane hors boucht to Jock Balye, and syne was geffin to 


Andrew Kennedy be the Kingis conunand, 50s." He had received a 
gift of 28s. two days before, and on 8th September 1503 there occurs 
another entry of 14s. given to Andrew Kennedy, ^ in maij bypast to pas 
to Wigton to the King ¥rith ane relique of Sanct Niniane." He is also 
the recipient of a grant referred to in the Privy Seal Register on 15th 
May 1 501. This is no doubt the Kennedy of the poem, from which 
we glean a few other particulars about him. He was probably a phy- 
sidan, and so is made, as a rival, to abuse Clerk for his ignorance — 

" Scribendo dentes sine de." 

His own superior knowledge of Latin is shown by the tags of dog- 
Latin he mixes with his English rhymes, a kind of composition the 
student of the time practised, as may be seen in a curious ballad 
by an English student in Paris to his sweetheart (Ten Brink, ' Early 
English Literature,' p. 303). Andrew Kennedy was, according to the 
poem, a drunken and dissolute Bohemian of Dunbar's day, but able, 
as such characters sometimes are, to see through the hypocrisy of false 
professors. Dunbar perhaps uses him to express his own freethinking 
mood, and to say things he did not like to say in his own person. 
Thus Kennedy is made to denounce the fraud and guile of Gray, the 
Master of St Antony's Hospital, and the pretences of the frdse friars 
who sang masses for the sake of lucre. He scof!s at absurd claims 
to good family — a weakness of his countrymen — ^by treating the head 
of the Kennedys as his chie^ though he did not know who he was, 
and at the same time by a double-edged thrust at the Celtic custom 
of caupe^ — an instrument of extortion by which '' the best aucht," or 
piece of movable property of a deceased clansman, was the right of 
the chief. He strikes one of Dunbar's favourite blows at the worldly 
¥risdom of the fools who became wealthy, and the folly of those who 
entertained and kept them. The residue of his goods — in his case, as 
in some testaments, less than nothing — ^he leaves to his bastards. The 
general ceremonies of the time are travestied by the use of emblems 
of his drunken habits. With reckless audacity and profanity, he does 
not hesitate to declare on his deathbed that he had no belief that he 
will have no priests to sing at his burial, and that he leaves, in the 
name of God, his soul till doomsday to the wine-cellar, and his body to 
a dunghill in the town of Ayr. It is a terrible picture of the dregs of 
fjEillen human nature. That neither Dunbar nor the society in which 
he lived thought such a subject outside the pale of poetry is shown 
by the fact that this poem was one of those the poet himsdf printed, 
or allowed to be printed, at the press of Chepman and Myllar in 

Kennedy, Walter. Ffyting; Lament. — This poet, who seems 
to have been the chief rival of Dunbar, was bom in Ayrshire, prob- 
ably before 1460 ; he was third son of Gilbert, first Lord Kennedy, 
and was educated at Glasgow CoU^e. He matriculated there in 


1475, and is described in the College Register as a nobleman idio 
had for his tutor James Black, probably a student like himself in 
the Faculty of Arts. He took the decree of Bachelor of Arts in 

1476, and that of Licentiate, or Master, in 1478. In November 14S1 
he was one of the examiners. He appears to have acted as Bailie- 
Depute of Carrick under David, third Lord Kennedy, in 1491-92. 
Mr Laing conjectures that he may have been the son of Gilbert, 
first Lord Kennedy, who was appointed Provost of the Collegiate 
Church of Maybole in 1494. He is described by Dunbar as lying 
at the point of death when ^'The Lament for the Makaris" was 
written, so he probably died in 1507 or 1508. Besides his part in the 
^* Fl)rting,'' a few of his poems have been preserved, and are printed by 
Laing in the second volume of his edition of Dunbar, (i.) ''The 
Praise of Age ; " (2.) " Ane agit Manis invective against Moudi Thank- 
less ; " (3.) " Ane Ballat in praise of our Lady ; " (4.) " Pious Cotmsale ; * 
(5.) " The Passioun of Christ." He is referred to by Gavin Douglas 
in the "Palice of Honour" as " Greit Kennedie" (line 14), and by Sir 
David Lindsay in the lines — 

" Or quha can now oontrefait 
Off Kennedie the terms aureait." 

The clan of Kennedy was one of the Celtic clans of Carrick, and 
Gilbert, the father of Walter Kennedy, had a charter dated 13th 
February 145 1, declaring him head of his tribe, and heritable bailie of 
Carrick. This is alluded to by Dunbar in the '' Testament of Andro 
Kennedy," who is made to leave his "best aucht" to the head of 
his clan as the customary due, called in old Gaelic coupe, Gilbert 
Kennedy was the son of Sir James Kennedy of Dunure, and Mary, the 
second daughter of Robert 111., and sister of James I., and this con- 
nection made Walter Kennedy claim the "Flyting" to be of king's 
kin. His uncle was Bishop Kennedy of St Andrews, the faithful coun- 
cillor of James III. The poet was a more staunch adherent of the 
Church of Rome than Dunbar, as is shown by the denunciation of the 
Lollards in several of his poems. The name Kennedy has been derived 
from Kenneth by the historian of the family of the seventeenth century, 
but by the editor of his work, Mr Pitcaim, is supposed to mean the head 
of the house or family, — a distinction which had been granted to their 
ancestors as far back as 1256, and confirmed by Alexander III. on 20th 
January 1276. — * Historical Account of the Families of Kennedy from 
Original MS.' (Edinburgh, 1830), p. 75. 

KiTTOK. Ballad of Kynd Kittok,—Y^\\i^ or Kitty, the female 
taverner, whose ale-house was at some place now unknown, called 
France, on the Falkland fells, perhaps from its having been the 
residence of French servants of the Court. 

Lawrance, Sanct. Fly ting, I. 123. — St Lawrence was martyred 


by roasting on a gridiron by Decios, or his successor Valerian. The 
legend is told by Barbour, or whoever may be the writer of the Northern 
or Scottish Legends (Horstmann, ' Altenglischen L^;enden/ Barbour's 
' Legenden Sammlung/ voL i. p. 191). St Lawrence was appointed an 
Archdeacon of the Roman Church by Pope Sixtus I L on his accession 
to the Papacy, A.D. 257. Before his own martyrdom Sixtus charged 
Lawrence to distribute the property of the Roman Church among the 
poor. Lawrence, according to the l^end, wished to share the fate of 
Sixtus, and said to him, ''Whither art thou going, O my father, without 
thy son ? '^ to whom Sixtus answered, '' I do not forsake thee, O my 
son : there are yet greater conflicts behind, which thou hast to undergo 
for the £suth of Christ : within three days thou, as a dutiful deacon, 
shalt follow me, thy bishop." He was arrested and grilled alive on a 
gridiron on the night between the 9th and loth of August. 

" I>ane Dedus al fore wrak 
A gryt fyre sone gert mak 
Vndir |ie rost-yme, )xU brint fast, 
& salt & oyle )fiire-one gert cast ; 
& louidanis mad ))ame al bowne 
With schaipe forkis & hald hyme done. 

f^ane sad Laurens with gud chere : 
' Lord Jhesu, I lowe )« here ! ' 
& with pat wpe |ie ene he brad. 
And to Decias he sayd : 
' pe rostit syd tume vpe & ete, 
& it at raw is turne & het ! ' 
& pis sayand thankis he Jald 
To god, erand Jonge and auld : 
' Lord Jhesu, ay lowyt mot ))u be, 
Fore I ame worthy to haf entre 
Within lie piXis of pi blyse,' 
& )aiild pe spryt, sayand |ius." 

— Legends of the Saints, xxii. IL 465-470, 485*496. 

This martyr is celebrated in several hymns. — See 'Daniel,' vol L 
p. 103 ; voL iL pp. 20^ 163. 

LODOVICK. E/egy on Bernard Stewart^ 1. i. — Louis XII. , King of 
France, by whom Bernard Stewart was sent on the embassy to Scot- 
land in 1508. 

LoKERT or LOCKHART OF THE Le, Sir MUNGO. Lament, L 63.— 
A person of this name is mentioned in a suit recorded in '* Acta Domi- 
norum Concilii," 27th February 1487, when he was dead, his wife being 
referred to as '^ Agnes Lindsay, spouse of umquhile Sir Mungo Lock- 
hart, knycht" No poem of his is known, but the date makes it not 
improbalble he is the Lockhart referred to by Dunbar. The £unily of 
Lockhart of the Lee, in Lanarkshire, is descended from Sir Simon 


Lockhart, who accompanied Douglas in his expedition against the 
Saracens (1330), when he carried the heart of Bruce. It has produced 
several distinguished members — James Lockhart, Lord Lee, a Scottish 
judge; William Lockhart, Cromwell's ambassador; and Sir George 
Lockhart, the Lord President of the Court of Session — ^but the name of 
Mungo does not appear in the family genealogies. 

Lydgate. Goldyn Targe, L 262 ; Lament^ L 5a — ^This poet, a 
monk of Bury (see *' Lament," L 50), who lived 1375 to 1460, was the 
immediate follower of Chaucer, but, like Gower, far inferior to his 
master. An account of his principal poems is given by Warton 
(* History of English Poetry,' p. 68 et seq.) These were " The Fall of 
Princes," " The Siege of Thebes," and " The Destruction of Troy." 
His Minor Poems have been edited by Mr J. O. Halliwell for the Percy 
Society, in which the following lines may be cited as parallels to 
passages in Dunbar's poems : — 

" Be glad, O London, be glad and make gret joy, 
City of cities, of nobleness precellyng, 
In the beginning called New Troy ; " — 

this may have suggested the reference to Troynovaunt in Dunbar's 
poem in praise of London. The moral to be drawn from the death of 
the great men of the past, which is the theme of Dunbar's '^ Lament 
for the Makaris," had also attracted Lydgate, who writes — 

*' Where now is David, the most worthy king? " 

— Lydgate*s Minor Poems, p. 24. 

It had been taken by both poets either from the medieval Latin hynms 
referred to in the Introduction, or from Villon's '* Ballade on Dead 
Heroes." In one of the poems attributed, perhaps vrrongly, to 
Lydgate, entitled '^ London Lackpenny," there is much satire directed 
against the lawyers and the courts in a style similar to Dunbar's 
" Tidings from the Session " and " Lady Solistaris." Dunbar styles 
Lydgate " laureate," but it is not probable that he was Poet-laureate 
of the Court. The history of that title, originally given by the university 
to graduates, then apparently confined to distinguished scholars, and 
first perhaps applied to the Latin poet Andrew Bernard of Toulouse, 
who held the office under Henry VIL and Henry VII L, is given by War- 
ton (* History of English Poetry,' voL iii. p. 125 ei seq,) ; yet Chaucer, 
who certainly did not hold any such office, and Skelton, are occasionally 
called " laureate," possibly only as a eulogistic epithet. Skelton ap- 
plies the term to the learned men of all nations in his allegory, *• The 
Garland of Laurel." The list closes with Gower, Chaucer, and Lydgate, 
who first adorned the English tongue. The same three poets are men- 
tioned in the prologue to "The Terens in English," printed by J. 
Nastall about 15 10 (Warton, vol. iii. p. 282). Skelton himself was a 
contemporary of Dunbar, for he fiourished from 1490, the date of his 


laoreation at Oxford, to 1529, when he died. His furious attacks on 
the Scotch, and the doggerel character of most of his poetry, account for 
his never being mentioned by Dunbar, on whom he did not exercise 
any influence. To prefer Skdton to Dunbar, as Mr Lowell does, is a 
singular instance of a false verdict by a usually good critic 

Machomete. Ffyting, L 537.— Also Mahoun. Lucina schynning 
in silence of the nicht^ L 32. — See Wyntoun, voL ii. p. 53 ; and " The 
Gyre Carling," Laing's 'Select Remains,' p. 275, where Mahomet is 
called Mahoun. See Montgomerie's 'Flyting,' L 429, and note, p. 317. 

Mackcowll, Fyn. Ane Uttill Interlud of the Droichis part of the 
Play^ L 33. — Fingal, the hero of Ossian and of many Irish and High- 
land tales, is represented as the g^eat -grandfather of the Dwarf in 
Dunbar's poem, and the father of Gow Makmome. They are associ- 
ated also by Douglas in " The Palice of Honour " — 

" Great Gow Mackmome and Fyn Makcowll, and how 
They should be goddis in Ireland, as they say." 

The Ossianic legend was probably known to the Court of James IV. by 
the recitations and songs of Gaelic bards and harpers. '' The Book of 
the Dean of Lismore," one of the earliest collections of Ossianic poems 
made in Scotland, was compiled between 1512 and 1542 by Sir James 
Macgr^or. Sir James was a notary public at least as early as 151 1, 
and Dean in 15 14. The frequent visits of James IV. to the Highlands, 
and the suppression of the rising of Donald Owre, made the knowledge 
of Gaelic a useful accomplishment ; and Ayala, the Spanish ambas- 
sador, records that James could himself speak it. The dialect spoken 
was still called ^ Ersch," or Irish, and until the extinction of the Lord- 
ship of the Isles in 1545, "the Irish sennachies and bards were heads of a 
school which included the West Highlands, and the Highland sennachies 
were either of Irish descent, or, if of native origin, resorted to bardic 
schoob in Ireland for instruction in the language and accomplishments 
of their art Perhaps the last of them was Taedg, son of Aodh O'Cof&y, 
who is designed chief teacher of poetry in Erin and Alban, in the 
record of his death, in 1554, in 'The Annals of Ulster.'" — Prefisice to 
' Book of Dean of Lismore.' 

Makfadyane. Dance of the Sevin Deidly Synnis^ L i la — Lord 
Hailes's conjectiure, that Makfadyane was used as one of the harshest 
of Highland names, does not appear a sufficient explanation. The 
reference is to the opponent of Wallace described by Blind Harry : — 

" This Makfadyane till Inglismen was suorn ; 
Eduuard gai£f him bath Argill and Lorn ; " 

— viL 627, 628. 
and the following line, that he was — 

" Fetched fax northwart in a nuke," 


ts fifiljinrd by tbe fines of B&ad Harry : — 

" MakfiK^BK fled, fcr afi Ids feloB sisA 
Ob tin a czve vitbiB a ci;# of stajae; 
Under Ca|;nar, viih xr is he Pfve ; ' 

where he was surprised and killed by DnxKan of Lara. Hisheadwas 
brought to Wallace and Neil Campbell of Lodiow : — 

" The kxd Cambea ifve hjBt it by tiie bar : 
Hckfa in Ccagmor be maid it for to strnd, 
Steald OD a sujne far bonoar off Iziand." 

— TO. 

This story is told by Blind Harry only, and not by any of tbe 
Chroniclers. There was nothing improbable in Edward r e cet f iu g aid 
from a Scoto-Irish chief, as he did from the Earl of Ulster at the 
battle of Stiiiing in 1296, and Blind Harry's story recdvcs cxmfir- 
mation from the fact that a hill near the Pass of Brander is still called 
Madadyane's promontory. — Carrick's * Life of Wallaoe/ p. 96. 

Marcion. Flyting^ L 538.— A Roman Emperor of the Elast, 450-7. 

Margaret Tudor« The Thistle and ike Rose; To the Q^uen^ Of 
a Dance in the Q^enis ChcUmer; To the Qu^en-Dowagerj and other 
poems. — The life of this queen has been well written by Miss 
Strickland. All that it is intended to notice here are the points in 
her life and character which bear on the life and poems of Dunbar. 
The eldest daughter of Henry VII., the Welsh Tudor who claimed 
to represent the House of Lancaster, and Elizabeth of York, she 
was born at Westminster, 29th November 1489, so was seventeen 
years younger than James IV., and twenty-nine years younger than 
Dunbar. While an infant, projects were already set on foot to 
betroth her to James IV., but he was then occupied with other love- 
affairs. She was brought up along with her brothers Arthur and 
Henry, but had no taste for letters. The death of Arthur, Prince of 
Wales, in 1501, made her a more eligible match, and the death 
of Margaret Drummond in 1502 removed the last obstacle to it 

Negotiations, begun some years before by Fox, Bishop of Durham, 
and the Karl of Bothwell, were brought to a point in 1501, when 
Hlackaddcr, Archbishop of Glasgow, and Bothwell were sent to 
London to arrange the terms of the marriage treaty ; and the espousals 
were celebrated at Richmond on 24th June 1502. Dunbar's poem in 
praise of London, recited at the banquet given by the Mayor to the 
Ambassadors on Christmas Day 1502, makes no personal allusion to 

Anticipating the time fixed by the treaty, Margaret, attended by 
Lord and Lady Surrey and a large suite, and, contrary to his usual 
parsimony, muniiicently furnished by her father with the trousseau of 


a bride, and with the partmg gift of a Book of Hours commending 
"her loving father to her prayers,* left Richmond on i6th June 1503. 
She reached the Border before the end of July. On August 3d she 
was met at Dalkeith by James, who showed the ardour of a young, and 
the ceremonious courtesy of an older, lover. The marriage was cele- 
brated at Holyrood on the 8th of Aug^t, and was succeeded, as it had 
been preceded, by amusements of all kinds — hunting and jousting, 
dancing, singing, and plays. ^'The Thistle and the Rose" was written 
by Dunbar to celebrate the joyful event Despite his attentions, 
Margaret did not take kindly to James. Young, the Somerset Herald, 
in his minute official account of the ceremonies, says she was " merry." 
But a letter to her father, sent by one of her ladies who returned to Eng- 
land, and who was to give him more of her thoughts, tells a different 
tale. She complains pettdantly of Surrey's influence with the king 
that no attention is paid to her chamberlain, ^who would speak 
better for her part ; " and adds a postscript in her own hand, '* with 
a wish I were with your Grace now and many times more." Her 
principal request was to show favour to her footman Thomas, who 
had been a servant of her mother. She probably shared the opin- 
ion of her attendants, who admired the manhood or courage more 
than the manners of the Scotch. The wayward character of the girl 
of scarcely fourteen called on to be a wife and queen is strikingly 
brought out in this letter. Her too eariy marriage had the unfortunate 
result of the death of her children soon after birth. It was not till 
1 5 12 that she bore the heir who succeeded to the crown. Her own 
life was often in jeopardy. But if we may accept the evidence of 
Dunbar's poems, as she grew older she took part with relish in the 
amusements, sometimes not of a refined character, of the Court, and 
showed her appreciation of the poet's part in them by pleading for him 
with the king. He calls her " his advocate both fair and sweet," and 
expresses a wish that the king listened more to her counsels. James 
did not prove a £uthful husband. Lady Jane Kennedy, daughter of 
the Elarl of Cassilis, succeeded Margaret Drununond as his chief 
mistress. In a letter from Margaret to Henry VIII., just before his 
fatal expedition which ended at Flodden, she says: ''And we lak 
nathing ; oure husband is ever the langir the bettir to us^ <is knawis 
GadP This perhaps expressed her feelings at that time, but her object 
in writing was to make her brother feel somewhat ashamed of ¥rith- 
holding the jewels left her by her father. Still, it is possible that the 
birth of the ftiture James V., and the knowledge that she was to be his 
guardian should anything befall her husband, improved the relations 
between James IV. and Margaret. Her first child, a girl, was bom on 
loth February 1506, and died on 17th February 1507. It was between 
these dates that James made a pilgrimage to St Ninians, to pray for 
her recovery ; and after it she herself went to the same shrine to offer 
thanks. But the king had used his pilgrimage to visit Lady Jane 


Kennedy. The kind of diversions going on at Court is indicafed by 
entries in the Treasurer's Accounts : — 

** Feb. i6. Item to Wantonness^ that sang to the kii^y • xiiijs 
Item to Wantonness, that the Idi^ fechit and 

gert her sing in the Qoeen's chahncr, . • xiiijs." 

If the conjecture founded on the date of Fastem's Eve^ which fdl 
this year on i6th February, be correct, and Dunbar then wrote his 
** Dance of the Sevin Deidly Synnis," we can understand why he chose 
such a subject for his muse, and appreciate the boldness of the Comt 
poet Probably the last persons to suppose that any reflectioD on 
their conduct was intended, were James and his courtiers. 

The round of amusements still went merrily on. In June 15079 the 
king gave the tournament in honour of Black Elen, the Moor. This 
was probably thought a piece of great fim by the young courtiers and 
the royal parasites. But in truth it made tournaments ridiculous, and 
degraded the king and those who took part in it, as Dunbar hints 
in his poem. 

The year 1508 ran a similar course. At Easter, James made his 
usual visit to St Ninians, and to Lady Jane Kennedy. In June 
there was jousting before the queen in Edinburgh, when the wild 
knight who won the prize turned out to be James in disguise. An 
embassy from England, of which Dr West was the chief, came to 
remove complaints which James had made as to the conduct of his 
father-in-law ; and another from France, of which D'Aubigny was the 
head, came to consult with James on behalf of Louis XII. The object 
of the former was to prevent, that of the latter to obtain, the renewal 
of the league with France. The queen's name appears at one point of 
these diplomatic intrigues. The English ambassador found the de- 
tention of the Earl of Arran in England an obstacle to his persuading 
James to break with France. Sir Patrick Hamilton, Arran's brother, 
according to West, had reported to the queen that Arran was well 
treated by Henry, but had told the opposite to the king. The Scotch, 
both nobles and commons, West reports, were inclined to favour 
France. Only the king himself, the queen, and Forman, the Bishop 
of Moray, were on the English side. But the astute diplomatist was 
deceived in his estimate, and we cannot entirely rely on what he states. 
James, as the event proved, really leant towards France. The Bishop 
of Moray was his chief adviser in hurrying on, four years later, the 
English war. Whether Margaret really supported her brother, we 
cannot be quite sure. Probably she did ; but if so, her influence 
with her husband was overruled. In this year the series of Dun- 
bar's poems were printed which included the Ballad on Aubigny, 
who came to Scotland in May and died in the following year, and the 
"Lament for the Makaris" who were dead or dying. Death was 
busy. On the 22d April of the next year, 1509, her father, Henry VII., 
died, and soon after her grandmother, the Countess of Richmond. 


In autumn she bore a prince, named Arthur, in memory of her brother ; 
but the sickly child died in July 151 1, and its mother was also ''sore 
vexit with sickness." In August she went on a pilgrimage to St 
Duthac's at Tain, and took the opportunity of visiting Aberdeen. 
Dunbar was in her suite, and celebrated her reception by the poem, 
'' Blyth Aberdein, thow beriall of all tounis." On nth April 15 12, she 
gave birth at Linlithgow to her child, who lived to be the future 

The accession of Henry VIII. changed the relations between the 
two countries. England now had a young king ambitious of the 
honours of war. James was not disposed to refuse him the oppor- 
tunity. A series of petty quarrels of the kind Henry VII. had 
succeeded in laying were fostered by both monarchs into an open 
rupture. Although an embassy under Lord Dacre and Dr West 
was sent to try if possible to detach James from the French league, 
they soon found it was a vain effort. One of these quarrels was 
about the jewels Henry VII. had left his daughter. At a meeting 
with the queen on 4th May she asked, as soon as the ambassadors 
were introduced, " If her l^^cy had beca sent ? ** West replied, " Yes ; 
if the king would promise to keep the treaty of peace." ''And not 
else ? " she rejoined. " No," replied West ; " and if the King of Scotland 
persists in war, the King of England will not only keep it, but take the 
best towns in Scotland." Margaret's answer to this speech was never 
spoken, for the king came into her room, and the conversation was 
interrupted. Both countries were actively preparing for war. James 
had been busy with making gunpowder for some time ; and Henry, 
who had succeeded in gaining die Pope as well as the Emperor as 
aUies, was collecting his troops for the French war. He sailed on ist 
June, and Catharine of Aragon, and Lord Surrey who was left behind 
to defend the Borders, were zealous in mustering and equipping the 
necessary forces. West was again, in spring 15 13, in Edinburgh, when 
he saw or heard of little else than the victualling of ships and the mount- 
ing of guns. He could get no definite answer from James to any of his 
requests except for leave to go home. Before he went, he paid a visit 
to Margaret at Linlithgow, on Sunday the loth of June. She showed, as 
might be expected, a more favourable disposition than her husbajid, 
said nothing about the jewels, and remarked that she was right sorry 
James would not promise to keep the peace with England, " for now 
her brother was in the right, and her husband in the vrrong." So at 
least West reported to Henry. The precise feelings of Margaret at 
this juncture are not quite certain. In a letter written two days before 
her interview with West, she had taunted her brother about the jewels, 
expressing her regret that so much fuss had been made about them, 
and her confidence that her husband would recompense her for their 
loss. But the belief in Scotland was that she was against the war. 
Pitscottie says she warned James of its danger. It was even rumoured 


thai the strange apparitiao at finlifhgcwr Khk was of her omtnvaiioe, 
to deter him bf playing on his sopcrstitioos fedings. James^ in 
spite of an warnings and the adrioe of his most pmdent coansdlorsy 
left Linlithgow about the end of July, mastered his troops at the 
Bonx^hmnir of Edinbargfa, and marching south met Sorrey, and 
fen at Flodden on 9th September. Accordii^ to tradition, Margaret 
watched his dep aitiir e from one of the towers of Linlithgow, which still 
bears ber name. Before leaving he made a wiH by which she was 
named tutor of their in£uit so long as she remained a widow, and gave 
her an order for a large som, the last sobsidy of the French Court. 
She gave birth to a posthomoos son, the Doke of Ross, on 20th April 
1514 ; bat before her year of moamii^ was over, she privatdy married 
at the Chapd of Kinnool, on 6th Aagust 1 514, the young Earl of Angus. 
Dunbar was probably one of the Scotchmen who had been averse to 
the war, and the queen had been more his friend than the king. She 
was still only twenty-three years old, and a second marriage was not 
unnatural, perhaps politic Still, we caimot but r^^ret that Dunbar 
shotdd have written the poem b^:iiming 

*'Otiisty floor of ^owth, benyng and bricht," 

in which he describes her as 

" jung brekand blosom, ^t on the staUds grene," 
and exhorts her 

" Paid nocht with weptog thy visage lair of hew ; 

O lufsuin lusty lady, wyse and trew. 
Cast out all cair, and comfort do incress, 

Exyll all sichand, on thy scherwand rew ! 
Dewoyd langour, and leif in lustiness." 

His name is not attached to it in the Bannatyne MS., but the style is 
his, and it is difficult to differ from Mr Small, who attributes it to him. 
It was evidently written not long after Flodden, and before the 
marriage with Angus was declared. The consequences of her rash- 
ness speedily followed. She was deprived of all share in the govern- 
ment by the nobles, who disliked the preference shown for the young 
and ambitious Angus, and summoned the Duke of Albany from 
France to assume the regency. He forced her to give up the custody 
of her children, and to fly to England, where she gave birth at Har- 
bottle, on 7th October 151 5, to Margaret Douglas, afterwards Lady 
Lennox, mother of Damley, the ill-starred youth in whom flowed the 
dregs of the Tudor blood. She was well received by her brother, 
but soon quarrelled with her husband, and, returning to Scotland in 
1 517, entered into relations with the Duke of Albany, which caused 
scandal, for his wife was still living, but seem to have been really due 
to the fact that he was more favourable to the divorce on which she had 
set her heart than her brother, who reserved for himself that remedy 
for an unhappy marriage. Her persistency, and the influence of 


Albany, at last gained her end, but not till 1528. She soon found a 
third husband in Henry Stewart, created Lord Methven— a match not 
more fortunate than those which preceded it ; and she again wished a 
divorce. She died of palsy at Methven on 25th November 1541. Her 
dying request to her son James V. was, that he should rely on her 
divorced husband Angus. But this latter period of her life lies outside 
that of Dunbar, who does not once allude to her after 15 14. His hopes 
in her had been disappointed, as much as in her husband. The poet's 
judgment of character, usually so acute, seems to have been blinded by 
the presence of royalty. He knew well and expressed boldly the 
corruption of the Court, but even he had not foreseen the pitiable end, — 
the king's death at Flodden when still in the prime of life, and the 
premature old age of the fair girl he had welcomed as queen. The 
tragedies of Scotland have not been written for the stage, but acted in 

Mary Magdalene. Of the Resurrection^ L 5. 

Mary Salame or Salome. Of the Resurrection^ L 7.— Daughter of 
Joseph, the husband of the Virgin. 

Mary, The Virgin. Hymns in her honour^ pp. 269 and 272. — See 
Ann, St 

Maxentius. Flyting^ L 538. — The son of Maximian, and one of 
the rivals of Constantine, who defeated him at Saxa Rubra, near 
Rome, in 312, when he was drowned in the Tiber at the Milvian 
Bridge. He is represented by Roman writers as a monster of 
rapacity, cruelty, and lust Wyntoun describes him : — 

" In Rome that tyme a tyrand 
Croell and austere was regnand 
That had to name Maxentius. 

He put to death Saynct Katarine, 
That glorious and that pious virgin." 

— L p. 391. 

Mercurius. FlyHng^ 1. 49a — Mercury, the messenger from the 
gods to men, and the god of merchants and of thieves, to whom magic 
powers were attributed by the Roman popular belief But what is 
" the great eclipse" referred to in L 489 ? 

Merser. Lament^ 1. 73. — Several persons of this name are men- 
tioned in the Treasurer's Accounts, with the Christian names of James, 
Peter, and William, who received grants of dress or money from the 
king between 1494 and IS03. There is also an Andrew Merser, one 
of the grooms of the chamber from 1503 to 1508. But whether any of 


these is the poet referred to by Dunbar is tmcertain. Sir David Lind- 
say also mentions the poet Merser in the lines — 

" Quint3m, Merser, Rowl, Henryson, Hay, and Holland, 
Thocht thay be deid their libels bene levand, 
Qiihilks to rehearse maketh readeris to rejose." 

— Lindsay's Works, voL L p. 285. 

Only one of Merser's poems has survived, entitled " Perrell in Para- 
mours," printed in Hailes's 'Ancient Scottish Poems,' p. 156, and in 
Irving's * History of Scottish Poetry,' p. 203. 

Mure. Complaint against Mure, — It has not been discovered who 
this poet was who had dared to tamper with Dunbar's verses. But as 
Dunbar, in the concluding stanza, consigns him to the company of 
Cuddy Rig, the Dumfries Fool, he was probably a worthless and envious 
bard who used this means to get Dunbar into trouble with the Lords 
he represented him as satirising. 

Murray, Earl of Dunbar. Flyting^ L 386.— Dunbar, the Earl 
of Murray of the second creation. Agnes, the daughter of Randolph, 
Earl of Murray of the first creation, married Patrick, ninth Earl oi 
Dunbar and March, and on the death of her brother at Homildon in 
1347 became Countess, and her husband in her right Earl, of Murray. 
Her eldest son George was tenth Earl of Dimbar and March, and her 
second son John became Earl of Murray, who married Marjory, 
daughter of Robert II. Sir Alexander Dunbar of Westfidd, Sheriff 
of Moray or Elgin, was descended from this Earl. His eldest son, 
Sir James Dunbar I. of Westfield, succeeded to the sheriffdom, 
which became hereditary in his family. He died in 1505, and left a 
son, Sir James Dunbar II., who died in 1539. One of these was the 
Dunbar of Westfield, knight. Could we be sure which, it would help 
to fix the date of " The Flyting." Probably the first is intended. 

MuSGRAEFFE, Mrs. Of a Dance in the Quenis Chalmery 1. 26. — 
This was one, probably the principal, of the ladies in Queen Margaret's 
suite who accompanied her from England, and remained in Scotland. 
She was the wife of Sir John Musgrave, and is usually styled in the 
accounts "The Lady Maistress," either because she was wife of a 
knight, or perhaps because she held the office of Mistress of the 
Queen's Wardrobe. She received a fee of ;^I3, 6s. 8d. English = £^6^ 
13s. 4d. Scots, half-yearly, besides many special payments. On 21st 
February 1 507, for bringing the news of the birth of a prince to the king, 
she was given 100 unicorns = £(^ Scots, and a cup of silver. She 
appears last in the Accounts in 15 13. The suggestion which has been 
based on this line in the poem, that Dunbar was really in love with her, 
is thought not to be well founded, for reasons stated in the Introduc- 
tion. May her husband have been a relation of Giles Musgrave, 
handed down to infamy in the poem of "Flodden Field," who 


deceived James as to the movements of the English, in order to induce 
him to come down the hill and fight on the plain ? — 

" Giles Musgrave was a guileful Greek, 
And friend familiar with the king, 
Who said, Sir King, if you do seek 
To know the Englishmen's meaning. 

Your marches they mean for to sack. 

And borders fair to harry and bum. 
Wherefore it's best that we go back. 

From such intent them for to turn. 
This Musgrave was a man of skill. 

And spake thus for a policy. 
To cause the king come down the hill, 

That so the battle tried might be." 

— •• Floddcn FiekJ," Weber's edition, L 1869 ei seq, 

NORRAY, Sir THOBfAS. Of Sir Thomas Norray^—TYaoma^ Norrie 
or Norray, one of the king's fools, frequently mentioned in the 
Treasurer's Accounts. In August 1503 he received a doublet of brige 
satin and a pair of yellow carsey (kersey) hose. In April 1504, a coat 
of yellow and black camelot, a doublet of brige satin, and a pair of red 
and yellow carsey hose, also a coat of the same materials and colours, 
and a doublet of grey Milan fustian. In May 1505 there is a payment 
of j^3, los. " to the wife quhair Norrie lay sick," and on 23d July " for 
ane horss to Norrie, ;^3." In August of the same year he went with 
the king to Whithorn, and when the king went norths los. was paid to 
him. It was probably after this northern expedition of the king to 
Ross and Moray, in which Norray had accompanied him, that this 
poem in his honour was written. On 24th March 15 12 he received 56s. 
^ at his passage to Sanct James in Elsinore ; ^ and on 5th August " ane 
pair schone, price i6d." In several of these entries he is styled " Sir 
Thomas Norrie," and it may be doubted whether this was in derision, 
for which the Treasurer's Accounts do not seem an appropriate place. 
More probably the king in some festive moment had actusdly knighted 
him, just as he held a tournament in honour of the Blackamore lady. 
Or it is just possible that Norray had performed some trifling exploit 
on the field (which here Dunbar laughs at by exaggerating), that jus- 
tified the king in knighting him. This would g^ve more point to 
Dunbar's poem, in which he "crowns him lord of every fiile," and 
would also explain the satire on chivalry which was implied in making 
a fool a knight. The unexpected line, "that of a high renowned 
knicht he wants nothing but bells," is as if to say a knight-errant as 
well as a fool should carry bells. The number of these fools at the 
Scottish Court at this period whose names Laing has collected from 
the Accounts is extraordinary, and seems to show they were more 
appreciated in Scotland even than in other countries. The following 
list is not exhaustive, for there were " gestours " besides : John Bute, 



and John Hotels man ; Cnrryy and Law, Carry's man ; Spark ; John 
Wallace ; Joly John, the English Fool ; Hamilton ; John Roach ; Jok, 
the Dundee Fool ; another Jok, the Aberdeen Fool ; Cuddy Rig, the 
Dumfries Fool ; Sir William Murray's Fool ; Quhissil Gibbon in 
Falkland ; and Bille Hoes, — all in the reign of James IV. Some of 
them were no doubt naturals — the village fool of later times, livii^ 
on alms ; but others were shrewd fellows passing off their wisdom as 
folly, such as Jok the ** fiile " referred to in ** The Testament of Mr 
Andro Kennedy," who acquired com and cattle, gold and land, and 
** bleris my lordis £ " by feigning to be foolish. 

Olibrius. Flyting^ L 54a — Olibrius is Olybrius, the President of 
the East, who caused St Margaret, the Christian daughter of a heathen 
priest at Antioch in Syria, to be beheaded in the year 275, because 
she refused to renounce Christianity. According to one form of the 
l^end, Olybrius called in the aid of Satan, who, in the shape of a 
dragon, swallowed Margaret alive; but she by a mirade extricated 
hersell The l^end is contained in Barbour — ' L^^den Sammlung,' 
Horstmann, voL ii. p. i. St Margaret was held in special reverence as 
the type of the virgin martyr, and her murderer accordingly in ^>ecial 

Pharo. Flyting^ L 530. — Kennedy represents Pharaoh, IGng of 
Egypt, as Dunbar's father. The mythical descent of the Scotch longs 
from Scota, the daughter of Pharaoh, made the poet familiar with his 

Pluto. Flyting^ 1. 53$. — The god of the infernal r^ons is made 
by Kennedy the head of the kin or name of Dunbar, following out the 
fanciful etymology of Dunbar as derived from " Deulberc." 

POLLEXEN. Gladethe thoue Queytu of Scottis regioun^ L 11. — 
Polyxena, daughter of Priam, whose beauty, according to the later ver- 
sions of the story of Troy, led to the death of Achilles. As Dunbar 
here praises Queen Margaret as "of port siu'mounting Pollexen of 
Troy," so Lydgate, in his " Life of Our Lady," from which this compari- 
son may be taken, had praised the Virgin as surpassing Polyxena in 
beauty. The story of Polyxena is told in the fragment of Barbour's 
Troy Booke (MS. Camb. KK., and Douce, 148), and Horstmann, 
* Legenden Sammlung,' vol. ii. p. 256 et seq. The common sources of 
poetic comparison were not so numerous in that age as in ours, and 
the " Tale of Troy," the " Romance of Alexander the Great," and the 
Arthurian cycle of poems, will be found to furnish most of those of 
Dunbar, whose knowledge of classical literature seems to have been 
limited. Aristotle, Homer, and Cicero (Tullius) are the only classical 
authors he names. — See Homer. 


PUTTIDBW. Flyting^ L 541.— What fonn of the Devil's name is 
meant by this is not known. 

Pylat. Ffytingj L 524. — Pontius Pilate. 

QUHENTYNE, or QuiNTYNE, or QuiNTiNG SCHAW.—This now rare 
but formerly common name of Quintyn occurs in several places in 
Dunbar's poems. In the " Flyting," IL 34 and 131, there is a reference 
by Kennedy to 

" My oonsmg Quintene and my commissar," 

who compiled, along with Kennedy, a poem in their own praise (see 
L 3), which led Dunbar to send his part of the **Flyting" to his 
friend Sir John the Ross. In the poem " Of Sir Thomas Norray " 
L 36, Dimbar rebukes Quhentyne for disparaging Norray. In '* The 
Lament for the Makaris,'' L 86, Quintyne Schaw is mentioned : — 

" And he has now tane, last of aw, 
Gud gentill Stobo et Quintyne Schaw." 

Probably these are the same person. Shaw is an Ayrshire family, and 
Quhentyne Schaw seems to have been the son of John Schaw of Haily, 
in that county, who received a charter to that estate on 20th June 1489 
as his father's heir. John Schaw had been one of the ambassadors 
who n^otiated the marriage of James III. with Margaret of Denmark 
in 1467, and a relationship between the Shaws and the Kennedys, also 
an Ayrshire family, is highly probable. Quhentyne Schaw is referred to 
in a suit before the Lords Auditors on 5th June 1479, when he appeared 
as procurator for his brother William ('Acta Auditorum,' p. 61) ; and 
on 19th March 1479, decree was g^ven against him for £7 at the suit 
of Margaret Lamb, widow of Alexander Halyburton {ibid.^ p. 81). He 
is frequently mentioned in the Treasurer's Accounts between 14th 
April 1489 and 8th July 1504 as a pensioner in receipt of j^io a-year, 
and also as getting a gown and other articles of dress. Although 
he is not stated to have held any office, these are just the same 
kind of rewards as were g^ven to Dunbar himself and other poets of 
the Court The only poem which has come down with his name 
is one entitled " Advyce to the Courtiers," in the Maitland MS., and 
printed by Pinkerton in his ' Early Scottish Poems.' Gavin Douglas, 
in the *' Palice of Honour," refers to 

" Quintyn with ane huttock on his held," 

along with Kennedy and Dunbar ; and Sir David Lyndsay also names 
him amongst the Scottish poets. 

QUHETTANE Clan. Of Sir Thomas Norray, L 16.— Clan Chattan 
or Quhele. This was the clan which fought the Clan Kay in the 
famous combat on the North Inch of Perth, as described by Wyntoun 


and other chroniclers, and by Scott in the * Fair Maid of Perth.' They 
are supposed now to be represented by the Macphersons or the 
Mackintoshes, but the identity with either is not prov^ 

Rauf Colzard. Sckir, JiV remembir as of befoir^ L 33. — " Ralph 
the Collier," an old Scottish poem, referred to also by Gavin Douglas 
in the " Palice of Honour " — 

" I saw Raf CoUzear with his thrawin brow** — 

and in the ^ Complaint of Scotland,'' Murray's edition, p. 63. It was 
printed at St Andrews by Lekprevik in IS72, and there is a reprint 
from the unique copy of this edition in the Advocates' Library in 
Laing's ' Select Remains,' p. 9. It relates an adventure of Charle- 
magne with a collier. Irving gives an outline of the story (* History 
of Scottish Poetry,' pp. 88-92). 

Reid, Sir John. See Stobo. 

Rig, Cuddy. Complaint against Mure^ 1. 24. — He is here styled 
the "Dumfries fule"; and in the Treasurer's Accounts for nth S^>- 
tember 1504, when the king was at Dumfries, with, amongst others, 
four Italian minstrels in his suite, Cuddy Rig appears to have taken 
" the tabroun " of a tabroner who accompanied the king, and who was 
given 28s. in recompense for the instrument by the king's command. 
He is referred to in the same accounts on 17th September IS04, 13th 
June 1508, 2d January 151 2, and 28th February 15 12, as receiving 
small payments. The " yellow and red " in the poem was the custom- 
ary livery of the fool. Dunbar ironically describes Mure as worthy to 
receive this livery at Yule, along with a bauble to play with. Cuddy 
Rig seems to have been one of the lowest of the fraternity of fools. 

Robin under Bewche. Of Sir Thomas Norray^ 1. 25.— Robin 
Hood. See Robyn Rude. 

ROBYN Rude. Ane Littil Interlud of the Droichis part of the 
Play J 1. 142. — " Robin under the boughs," the " greenwood tree " of 
the English ballads, is Robin Hood. The followers of the Droich 
who plays the part of Wealth in the Interlude, and proclaims himself 
a giant, are humorously told to put on the green livery of Robin 
Rood. Robyn Hude, first noticed in "Piers Plowman," 1377, is 
referred to (about 1420) by Wyntoun, and (1450) by Bower in his 
addition to Fordoun {sub anno 1266), who mentions the popularity of 
his songs and of the festival in his honour. Major, writing in 1505, 
says all Britain sang the songs of his exploits. " A Littel Gest of Robin 
Hude" was one of the prints of the press of Chepman and Myllar 
in 1508, at the same time as Dunbar's seven poems, so must have 
been well known to Dunbar. 


Mr Ritson, in his notes and illustrations to 'The Robin Hood 
Ballads,' remarks that English historians pass over Robin Hood 
because of his enmity to the ecclesiastics, but he has collected the 
following references to him by Scottish historians. Bower, in his 
addition to John of Fordoun's Chronicle, speaking of Robin Hood, 
Little John, and their accomplices, says : " Of whom the foolish vulgar 
in comedies and tragedies make lewd entertainment, and are delighted 
to hear the jesters and minstrels sing them above all other ballads." 
He calls Robin ''ille famosissimus siccarius" (sud anno 1266). John 
Major writes : " Circa haec tempora (/.^., Richardi primi) ut auguror, 
Robertus Hudus Anglus et parvus Joannes, latrones famatissimi, in 
nemoribus latuerunt, solum opulentorum hominum bona diripientes. 
Nullum nisi eis invadentem vel resistentem pro suarum rerum tuitione 
ceciderunt. C sagittarios ad pugnam aptissimos Robertus latrociniis 
aluit, quos CCCC viri fortissimi invadere non audebant Rebus hujus 
Roberti gestis tota Britannia in cantibus utitur. Foeminam nullam 
opprimi permisit, nee pauperum bona surripuit, verum eos ex abbatum 
bonis ablatis opipare pavit Viri rapinam improbo, sed latronum 
omnium humanissimus et princeps erat" — 'De Gestis Scotorum,' 
iv. 56. 

"The 'Lytill Gest,'" Ritson further notes, "is probably the oldest 
thing upon the subject we now possess ; but a legend apparently of 
the same species was once extant of perhaps a still earlier date," — 
of which he gives a fragment from a volume of old printed ballads 
in the British Museum (Ritson, 'Robin Hood,' 2d ed., 1823, p. Ivi). 
Hector Boece g^ves a tradition, according to which " the lance of lytle 
Johne remains in great admiration of the pepill in the kirke of Pette in 
Murray land ; " and he also refers to " that waithman Robin Hude, 
with his fallow. Utile Johne, of quhom ar mony fabillis and mony 
sportes sung among the vulgar pepilL" 

But the most curious, and perhaps the earliest, notice of Robin 
Hood's name is in a rhyming Latin poem in the British Museum, 
with the title, " Prions AInwicensis de bello Scotico apud Dumbarr, 
tempore regis Edwardi 1. dictamen sive rithmus Latinus, in quo de 
Willelmo Wallasse, Scotico illo Robin Whood, plura sed invidiose 
canit" (Ritson, p. xxxiv). The game of Robin Hood continued to 
be a favourite diversion amongst the common people of Scotland even 
after the Reformation. It was celebrated in the month of May, and it 
was found necessary to repress it by statute. In 1561 a mob had to 
be put down by arms by the magistrates of Edinburgh for attempting 
to "make a Robin Hood"; and as late as 1592 the General Assembly 
complained of the profanation of the Sabbath by the making of Robin 
Hood plays (Arnot's 'History of Edinburgh,' p. 27). Scott in 'The 
Abbot ' gives a lively description of the Robin Hood plays in Scotland, 
and. Note iiL p. 194, quotes from Bishop Latimer's sixth sermon before 
King Edward, " a very naive account of the manner in which, bishop 


as he was, he foand himself compelled to g^ve place to Robin Hood 
and his followers." 

Robin Hood was the hero of the popular, as Arthur was of the 
chivalric, romance of the middle ages in Scotland, as well as in 
England. The favourable view taken by Major of his character and 
exploits deserves special notice. 

Roger of Clekkinsklewch. Of Sir Thomas Norray^ L 26. — 
Possibly "Clym of the Cleuch,*' the associate of "William of 
Cloudesle'' in the ballad, who rescued Allan Bell, their comrade, 
when about to be executed at Carlisle (see Hazlitt, ^Ancient 
Popular Poetry,* p. 131). If so,'.Clym would be his by- or to- name^ and 
Roger his Christian name. Or Roger may have been one of Robin 
Hood's good men, whose name has not been preserved in any of the 
ballads which have come down to our time. — See BelL 

Ross, Sir John the. Lament^ 1. 83 ; Flyting, 11. i and 39. — This 
poet and friend of Dunbar was chosen by him as the correspondent to 
whom he addressed the " Flyting." The designation is so peculiar, 
that there appears little doubt that he is " John the Ross " to whom 
20 imicoms were paid in February 1490, and who also received 
another payment, of which the amount cannot be read in the 
Treasurer's Accounts, on 21st April 1498. He may have been a 
priest, and so received the courtesy title of " Sir," as was common in 
the case of " the Pope's knights ^ at that time — and this is the conjec- 
ture of Lord Hailes ; or a layman who had not in 1498 been yet 
knighted. If the latter is the correct surmise, it gives the date of the 
" Fly ting " as subsequent to 1498. There seems no ground for Mr 
Chalmers's conjecture that he was the well-known Sir John Ross of 
Montgrennan, the king's advocate of James III., who was forfeited for 
siding with that king at Sauchie against James IV. Nor can he have 
been Sir John Ross of Hawkhead, Sheriff of Linlithgowshire, 1479-83. 
It is more probable that he was designed " the Ross " to distinguish 
him from Ross of Montgrennan and Ross of Hawkhead. Perhaps he 
had some connection with the shire of Ross, as the last entry in 1498 
in the Treasurer's Accounts bears that the payment then made to him 
was " to mak his expensis in Ros . . ." 

RowL of Aberdeen. Lament, 1. 77, — " It has been conjectured that 
the Rowl of Aberdeen belonged to the same family as Thomas Rowl, 
chief magistrate of Aberdeen 141 6" — * Bards of Bon Accord,' by 
William Walker (Aberdeen : Edmond & Spark, 1887), P- 17- 

Rowl of Corstorphine. Lament, 1. 79. — There is a poem called 
"Sir John Rowlis Cursing" in the Bannatyne MS. with the lines pre- 
fixed — 


" This tragedy is callit but dreid 
Rowlis Cursing quha will it rdd." 

It is printed in Laing's 'Select Remains of the Ancient Poetry of 
Scotland/ 2d ed., p. 21 1. But which, if either, of the two poets named 
by Dunbar wrote it is not known, nor has any other poem or notice of 
either Rowl been preserved. Perhaps the Rowl of Corstorphine is 
called ^ Gentill Rowl of Corstorphine " to distinguish him from the 
author of the '* Cursing," to whom that epithet would not be appro- 
priate. The ** Cursing ** refers to Alexander VI. as Pope, so must have 
been written between 1492 and 1503. 

Salamon= Solomon. BallaU against Evil Womtn, 1. 3a 

Sampson. Ballate against Evil Women^ p. 267, 1. 31. 

SCHAW, QxnNTYNE. Lanunty L 86. — S^e Quhentyne. 

SCHAW, Robert. Of a Dance in the Quenis Chaimer^ L 8.— Robert 
Schaw receives various sums in the Treasurer's Accounts between 1 502 
and 1508, and also gifts of dress, one of which was a gown of scarlet 
lined with '* birge satin." He appears to have been a Court physician 
— perhaps the fashionable lady's doctor of the time — from the following 
entries : ^ 28th May 1504 — Item, to Master Robert Schaw be the 
kingis command quhen he passit to Bothwell to the ladye lyand sick, 
£7 J* "9th February 1504-5 — Item, to the said William (Fowler, 
pottinger) for ane blude stane and three unce uther stuf for the Quene 
for bleding of the neis [nose], after ane receipt of Master Robert Schaw, 
22s." Like Damian, the Abbot of Tungland, he became a priest, and the 
king gave at his first mass 10 French crowns =;£'7, on 14th May 1508. 
There are three other doctors or physicians amongst Dunbar's portraits 
— Damian, the quack doctor ; Andrew Kennedy, the drunken doctor ; 
John Clerk, the illiterate doctor. Dunbar can have had no liking for 
those who practised that calling in his day. — See Kennedy, Andrew. 

SiMONES SONNES of QuhynfelL 0/ Sir Thomas Norray^ L 29. 
— The same family of freebooters is mentioned as the name of an old 
song in ^Cockelbie's Sow" (Laing's 'Select Remains of Ancient Scottish 
Poetry,' p. 249, L 314), and were doubtless associates of Adam Bell, the 
Robin Hood of northern England. Quhynfell is doubtless Whinfell, 
part of Inglewood Forest, now a bare hilly tract four miles south 
of Penrith, whose last remnants, " The Harts Horn Inn," — where 

*' Hercules killed Hart a Grise.^ 
And Hart a Grise killed Hercules," — 

and ^ The Three Brothers," the g^ant survivors of its old oaks, have 

1 1.e.tgrais, or (aL 


now disappeared. It was in this forest that Adam Bell, Clym of the 
Cleuch, and William of Cloudesle, pursued their venery. 

" Then went they down into a land, 
Thir noble archers three ; 
Each of them slew a hart of grise, 
The best that thej could see." 

— Percy's * Reliqoes.* 
— See Bell, and Robyn Hude. 

Sinclair, Sir John. 0/ a Dance in the Quenis CJudmer^ L i. — 
Sir John Sinclair of Dryden, one of the royal suite, seems to have been 
specially attached to the queen's person, as he is called " the Quenis 
knycht " in the poem. This might be supposed to refer to his being 
one of those knighted at her marriage, but the entry in the Treasurer's 
Accounts shows he was a knight before its date. He is mentioned in 
the Treasurer's Accounts between 1490 and 1506. On 20th June 1501, 
there was *' giffin to the king himself that he playit at the rowbowlis 
with the Prothonotar (Andrew Forman) and Schir John Sinclair, 56s." 
In July 1503, he received a gift of clothes for the king's marriage. On 
27th September 1504, the entry occurs — "That samyn nicht to the long 
to play at the cartes with Sir John Sinclair, 10 French crowns and 
tynt £tP On 3d November 1506, " To Sir John Sinclair be the king's 
command, ;£28." This is the last mention of his name in the Records, 
but his wife received gifts of ;^io on the New Year of 15 12 and 15 13. 
He must, however, have been alive in April 15 13, for Dr West, the 
ambassador of Henry VIII., mentions in a letter to the king on 13th 
April : " On Sunday afternone I rode to Linlithgow, and came thider 
by iiij of clok at afternone, and as sone as I was cumon her grace 
(Queen Margaret) sent for me by Sir John Sincler^ which brought me 
to her grace." — Ellis, * Original Letters,' first series, vol. i. p. 73. 

Stewart, Bernard, Lord of Aubigny. The Ballad of Lord 
Bernard Stewart^ p. 59 ; Elegy on the Death of Bernard Stewart^ p. 
63. — Bernard or Berault Stewart, third Lord of Aubigny, was grand- 
son of John Stewart of Dernely or Darnley, in Renfrewshire — the 
branch of the Stewarts which received the title of Earl of Lennox in 
1488. John Stewart of Darnley entered the service of France, and 
became a captain of the Scots who fought for Charles VII., and formed 
the nucleus of the Scots Guard. In return for his services he received 
the fief of Aubigny in Berry, and was killed at the siege of Orleans in 
1429. His third son John Stewart, second Lord of Aubigny, Captain 
of the Scots Guard, and Chevalier of the Order of St Michael, died in 
1482, and left, by his wife Beatrice d'Apeche, an only son, Bernard, 
who succeeded to his father in 1483. He appears to have added the 
Comt^ de Beaumont le Roger, in Normandy, to the estates of his 
family by grant from Louis XL (Normandie lUustr^). In 1484 Bernard 
was sent by Charles VIII. as ambassador to Scotland, to renew the 


ancient league between France and Scotland, and succeeded in obtain- 
ing its confirmation by James III. on 22d March 1484. 

In 1485 he led the French auxiliaries who fought for Henry VII. at 
Bosworth Field. His share in the victory is celebrated by Sir John 
Beaumont in his poem on that battle : — 

" Besides these soldiers bom within this isle, 
We must not of the part their French beguile, 
Whom Charies for Harry's success did provide, — 
A lord of Scotland. Bernard, was their guide ; 
A blossom of the Stewart's happy line. 
Which is on Britain's throne ordained to shine. 
The sun, whose rays the heavens vrith beauty crown, 
From his ascending to his going down 
Saw not a braver leader in that age. 
And Bosworth field must be the glorious stage 
In which this northern eagle learns to fly, 
And tries those wings which after bare him high. 
When he beyond the snowy Alps renowned 
Shall plant French lilies on Italian ground. 
And cause the craggy Apennines to know 
What fruits on Caledonian mountains grow.' 


In December 1493 he became Captain of the Scots Guard. In 
1494 he was sent to Rome and other Italian states to support the 
claims of Charles VIII., as heir of the house of Aragon, to the 
kingdom of Naples. On his return, at Milan he received from 
Charles, who now knew he must make good his claim by arms, a 
command in the army ; and on the king's return in the following year, 
he was left behind as lieutenant-general of the French forces. . In that 
year he won the great battle of Seminara over Ferdinand of Spain and 
the great captain, Gonsalvo de Cordova. This victory gave possession 
for a short time to the French of the kingdom of Naples ; so Dunbar 
calls him, in the title of the ballad, " Conqueror of Naples." The ill- 
health of D^Aubigny, from a fever contracted in the campaign, pre- 
vented him from pushing his victory, and Gonsalvo de Cordova, along 
with several Spanish commanders, escaped before the surrender of the 
town of Seminara. This illness, and the chief rule of the conquered 
kingdom being left in the hands of the young Monseig^eur de Mont- 
pensier, led to the decline of the French power, although Calabria, 
in which D'Aubigny himself commanded with the title of Grand 
Constable, was for a time retained. Philip de Comines contrasts the 
two commanders in a few words : ** Pur Chef y demeura (k Naples) 
Mr. de Montpensier de la Maison de Bourbon, dan chevcUier et hardy 
mais peu sage, II ne se levoit pas qtiil m fut midi: en Calabre 
laissa Mr. d'Aubigny de la nation d'Ecosse, bon chevalier et sage^ ban 
ei honorable^ que fut Grand Connetadle du royaumej et lui donna le 
Roi le Comt^ d'Arci et le Marquisat de Spilazzo." No reference has 
been found to a place called ^Bonafire" amongst D'Aubign/s titles. 


The despatches of D'Aubigny were published under the title, ' Lettres 
escriptes par Monsieur d'Aubigny au roy nostre sire du camp de S. Leon 
du xxi. jour de juing.' In 1496 Gonsalvo, having already gained some 
places in Calabria, and D'Aubigny being still in feeble health, was allowed 
to return by land to France, and the brief conquest of the kingdom of 
Naples by the French was at an end. D'Aubigny continued in favour, 
and received the Order of St Michael for his services. In the reign of 
Louis XII. he was again sent as commander of the French forces to 
Calabria, where he gained a second memorable victory over the 
Spaniards, led by Hugo de Gonsalvo, at Terra Nuova in 1503. Paulas 
Jovius, the historian of Gonsalvo de Cordova, attributes this victory to 
the sldll of D'Aubigny and the prowess of the Scottish men-at-arms, 
who broke the ranks of the Spanish cavalry. D'Aubigny himself 
showed great courage at the risk of his life. He was thrown from his 
horse, and his helmet pulled off by some Spanish horsemen, who were 
about to cut his throat when he was rescued by the troops of the 
Prince of Salerno (P. Jovii ' Historia de Vita ct Actis Gonsalvi de Cor- 
dova,' vol ii. p. 217). But soon afler, on 21st April in the same year, 
Hugo de Cordova, having recruited his army, defeated D'Aubigny near 
Seminara, — " on the very same ground," says Guicciardini (* Historia 
d'ltalia,' Book V.), ** where, but a few years before, he had, with so 
much glory, overcome Ferdinand and Gonsalvo ; so inconstant is 
Fortune in dispensing her favours, and of so short a duration is a 
course of prosperity." D'Aubigny retired to the fortress of Angertola, 
but the Due de Nemours, the chief of the French army, having been 
defeated and slain at Cerignola, he was compelled to surrender. 
Jovius praises his magnanimity in making it one of the terms of the 
surrender that all his company except himself should be set at liberty. 
He adds : " D'Aubigny sharply reproved two young lords, his kinsmen, 
for that more faintly than was fit for men — namely^ for their being 
Scotsmen and of the blood-royal — they did bewail the unfortimate 
success of the war ; not remembering that valiant men should never 
be disheartened, but seek by a fresh endeavour of valour, revived and 
grown invincible, to recover Fortune's favour." D'Aubigny was himself 
soon released, and in 1 507 went with the French king on his expedi- 
tion against Geneva, and was present at Savona in June 1507, where 
Louis and Ferdinand of Spain vied with each other in chivalric 
courtesy to his former foes. Gonsalvo de Cordova was the hero of 
the day, but it is noted that the King of Spain visited D'Aubigny in 
his own lodgings, where he was kept a prisoner by the gout. In the 
next year D'Aubigny was a second time sent on an embassy to Scot- 
land, where he arrived on 9th May 1508. The statement that he came 
to Scotland on a similar mission in 1 504 is due to the inaccuracy of 
Lindsay of Pitscottie as to dates, who places his embassy in 1 504 and 
not in 1 508. The Treasurer's Accounts show that in the former year 
one of his servants had been sent to the Scottish Court, and that 
James gave him a white horse as a present to his master in France. 


When D'Aubigny, in person, came in 1508, he was received, as was 
natural, with great respect by the king, who coveted the honours of 
war, and with enthusiasm by the nation as their most renowned hero. 
James made him sit at the royal table, styled him the Father of War, 
and named him judge in the tournaments, which were the favourite 
sport of the Scottish as of the French Court. But D'Aubigny was 
again to prove the uncertainty of fortune. He seems never to have 
shaken off the effects of the Calabrian fever, and suffered also from 
gout He died at Edinburgh before 8th June 1508, and was buried at 
the kirk of Corstorphine. His will, and an inventory of his effects, have 
been preserved (Stewart's * Genealogy of the Stewarts,' p. 207). His 
portrait was seen by Andrew Stewart at the Chateau D'Aubigny when 
he visited it in 1788, and it may be hoped is still in the possession of 
the Duke of Richmond, the representative of the house of Lennox. 
He had married Anne de Maumont, by whom he left an only daughter, 
Anne Stewart, who became the wife of her cousin, Robot Stewart, 
second son of John, first Lord Damley and Earl of Lennox. Bernard 
Stewart had taken a vow when fighting in Italy to make a pilgrimage 
to St Ninians, in Galloway, and James sent his heart there. Dunbar 
had intended to write a longer poem to celebrate the exploits of 
D'Aubigny (see 1. 84 of ** The Ballad ^ ; but this intention was frustrated 
by his untimely death, and the eulogy was turned into an el^^, in 
which the Scottish nation 

'* Intill his lyff quhom most he did aflFf,*' 

are exhorted 

" To pray for him, the flour of chavelrie." 

What would Scotland not have given for the counsels of such a com- 
mander on the field of Flodden? Brantome, than whom no writer 
expresses better the military spirit of the age, includes amongst the 
great captains whom Louis XII. trained '^ in his beautiful wars," ''D'Au- 
big^^ a Scot and great Lord, who did honour to his nation in such a 
manner that some of our French annalists have styled him 'grand 
Chevalier sans reproche; ' " but the gallant Bayard, his companion-in- 
arms, has more commonly received that title. No contemporary of 
Dunbar could better represent the Scot abroad than D'Aubigny, who 
sustained the military fame of his countrymen in so many fields from 
Bosworth to Seminara, and who formed a link in the chain of affec- 
tion which attached the Scots to the French. He stands in marked 
contrast to his cousin Albany. The latter represents the class of Scot- 
tish emigrants who abandon, the former the class who never forget, the 
soil from which they sprang. 

Stewart, John, Duke of Albany. Am Orisaun: quhen the 
Gavemour past in France^ p. 235 ; We Lordis hes chosin a Chi/tone 
mervelhis^ p. 237. — ^John Stewart was the son of Alexander, second 
son of James II., and third Duke of Albany. His father, forfeited for 


intriguing with England against James III., took refuge in France^ 
where he married, as his second wife, Anne de la Tour, daughter of 
Bertrand, Count of Auvergne. John, their only son, was bom in 148 1, 
and in 1485 succeeded his father, who was killed by the splinter of a 
lance in a tournament. In 1505 he married his cousin Anne de la 
Tour, Countess of Auvergne, and heiress of its large fiefe. On the 
death of James IV. in 15 13, the Queen-Dowager became r^^ent ; bat 
a convention of estates at Perth, at the instance of Elphinston, Bishop 
of Aberdeen, and Lord Hume, the chamberlain, determined that 
Albany should be summoned to govern the kingdom during the 
minority. Henry VIII., jealous of the influence Albany was likely to 
exercise, sent the Earl of Suffolk to France to prevent his return, bat 
Francis 1. refused to detain him. Albany was slow in responding to 
the invitation of the Scotch Estates ; but at last, on i8th May 15 15, he 
sailed from St Malo, and before the 22d landed in Scotland. He was 
installed as regent in July, and declared protector of the kingdom till 
the king reached his eighteenth year. He at once used his power to 
curb the influence of the Douglases, depriving their adherents of 
office, and putting several in ward. A threat to besiege Stirling 
forced the queen to g^ve up her children, the young king and his 
brother the Duke of Ross. Margaret then fled to England, where she 
was followed by her husband and Lord Hume. After the birth of Lady 
Margaret Douglas at Harbottle on 7th October, she wrote to Albany 
demanding the custody of her other children. The Scottish Councfl 
replied that she had by her second marriage forfeited her rights, and 
that the Estates had chosen Albany as regent. Angus, Hume, and 
Arran thereupon entered into a league by which they pledged them- 
selves to deliver the young princes, and to make no terms with Albany. 
Dacre, the English warden, did all he could to assist them, by 
fomenting Border raids and the quarrels of the nobles. ** The Humes," 
he wrote to Henry VIII., "are resolved to annoy the Duke, who is 
well weary of the continued spoiling, burning, and slaughter in Scot- 
land." Wolsey described Albany as " a coward, and a grievous 
and wilful fool." But although his character was passionate and 
impulsive, and he showed pusillanimity, if not cowardice, in war, the 
English had underestimated him. At this time, as on other occa- 
sions of his life, he showed both prudence and vigour. He used con- 
ciliatory language, though without effect, to induce Margaret and her 
husband to return to Scotland. He seized Arran's castles, but promised 
him a free pardon if he would submit, and so succeeded in detaching 
him from the league. The death of the young Duke of Ross, towards 
the close of the year, gave an opportunity for Margaret again to pour 
forth her wrath against Albany, whom she accused of causing his death. 
In the beginning of 15 16, Albany made a tour into England, to which 
he sent an embassy. Angus and Hume now returned to Scotland, and 
were allowed to reside on their estates, and on nth June the truce 

APPENDIX. cclxiii 

with England was converted into a peace to endore till 15 17. Henry, 
notwithstanding, addressed a letter to the Scottish Estates, requiring 
them to dismiss Albany, which met with a decided refusal ; and 
although Albany entered into a secret correspondence with Wolsey, 
and offered to visit Henry VIII., this offer, probably only made to gain 
time, and distrusted by Wolsey, was not accepted, and nothing came 
of it. In the Parliament of September, Hume was condemned for 
treason, and along with his brother beheaded in October — their heads 
being fixed on the Tolbooth. In November, when the Parliament 
again met, Albany obtained an Act bastardising his elder brother, a 
son of his father's first marriage, and declaring himself next heir to the 
kingdom. Almost immediately after this great concession to his vanity 
or ambition, he astonished the Parliament by suddenly requesting leave 
to return to France. He was at heart a Frenchman, and had been 
requested by Francis I., whom he called his master, and with whom he 
was on intimate terms, to return as soon as he could. This leave was 
at first refused. His popularity in Scotland was waning, but it was 
felt that his absence would leave the country without a head, and pro- 
duce anarchy. He at last succeeded in procuring a reluctant assent 
to his going for four months, by pleading the necessity of visiting his 
wife and lus French estates, and he sailed from Dumbarton on 7th 
June 1 5 17. A council of regency was appointed, consisting of the two 
archbishops. Foreman and Beaton, and four earls, Huntly, Argyle, 
Angus, and Arran. Sir Antony d'Arcy de la Bastie, a French knight, 
well known in Scotland from his prowess in the tournaments of James 
IV., was appointed Warden of the East Marches, in succession to Hume, 
and the fortresses of Dunbar, Dumbarton, and Inchgarvie were placed 
in the hands of French garrisons. This attempt to divide the power 
between the leading Scottish nobles and the French representative of 
Albany did not, as might have been anticipated, succeed. The return 
of Margaret to Scotland on 15th June added to the dissensions of the 
unhappy country. Her husband, Angus, met her, but was coldly 
received. They had quarrelled before, and soon again parted company. 
She was not allowed to take any part in the government, or even to 
visit her son. Towards the end of July, or banning of August, De la 
Bastie was murdered by Home of Wedderbum at Langton, in revenge 
for the death of his chief and the appointment of the Frenchman to his 
office. Home gloried in the deed, and carried the head of his victim 
at his saddle-bow to his own house ; but the treachery of the deed, and 
the chivalrous character of this victim to the feuds of Scotland, excited 
general indignation. Arran was then appointed Warden, an important 
office which Angus coveted. In spite of the protests of Francis I., no 
effective steps were taken to punish the murderers ; for although Home 
and his brother were condemned, and Arran seized their fortresses, 
they were soon afterwards pardoned. There was a practical surcease 
both of the Courts and of Parliament, and a handful of nobles and 


prelates governed, or rather misgoverned. They could not agree 
amongst themselves. The nobles were jealous of each other. The 
churchmen, to use Dunbar's words, ''yearned for benefices." The 
next few years were occupied with a contest for power between Angus 
and Arran, into which the various feuds gradually merged. It was 
during this period, probably in 15 17, that Dunbar wrote his poem, 
" Ane Orisoun : quhen the Govemour past in France." It is someii^iat 
general in phraseology, and there is no direct allusion to the murder of 
De la Bastie. But its purport is to pray God to be the Protector of the 
realm, left forlorn by the departure of Albany, and ^ in partyis all 
devydit." Possibly the lines, 

" Rew on our syn, befoir ^our sicht decydit ; 
Spair oar trespas, quhilk may nocht be expremit," 

may be a guarded reference to the murder. Albany had received fuU 
powers, though out of Scotland, to conduct its foreign affairs ; and on 
26th August 1 5 17 he concluded the important treaty of Rouen with the 
Duke d'Alen^on, by which France and Scotland made an ofifensive 
and defensive alliance against England. He had great influence at the 
Vatican, being connected by marriage with Leo X., and he used it 
to obtain from the Pope the confirmation of the privileges of the Scotch 
kingdom. A letter in name of the Scotch Estates, but really dictated 
by Albany, was sent to the Pope in January 15 19, begging him to use 
his influence with Francis I. to procure Albany's return to Scotland. 
In June of the following year he went to Rome, and while there, 
Margaret, whose quarrel with Angus had now become acute, procured 
from him the aid her brother refused in prosecuting her suit for a 
divorce. After he went back to Paris, his agent continued to defray 
the expenses of the suit. In return, she deserted for a time the 
English interest, and did what she could to favour his recall to Scot- 
land. The Scotch people generally had become every year more 
desirous that Albany should resume the office of regent. The dis- 
sensions between the parties of the Hamiltons, with Arran at their 
head, and the Douglases, of whom Angus was the chief, had increased 
to the dimensions of a petty but exasperating civil war, which dis- 
tracted the nation. In 15 18 Arran, whose power chiefly lay in the 
west, had tried to force an entrance into Edinburgh, to secure the office 
of provost, but had been repulsed with bloodshed. In April 1 520 he 
made another attempt, which ended in the street fight of Cleanse-the- 
Causeway. The partisans of Angus were again successful ; those of 
Arran were killed or driven out of the town. One of the slain was 
Sir Patrick Hamilton, the brother of Arran. Angus remained master 
of the capital, but he failed in the following August to surprise his 
rival at Stirling, and the Hamiltons still maintained their predomi- 
nance in the western shires. It was shortly after this, probably, 
that Dunbar wrote his last poem to which we can attach a date. 


The first lines refer to the absence of Albany for more than three 

years : — 

" We Lordis hes chosin a chiftane mervelltis. 

That left hes ws in grit perplezitie. 

And him absentis, with wylis cautelus, 

3eiris and dayis mo than two or thre.** 

Though nominally addressed to Albany, it is not likely to have been 
sent him, for it does not disguise his faults. It was written to be read in 
Edinburgh, and expresses the feeling of its citizens. It refers to the 
** wylis " of Albany, who, although he had pretended to wish to return, 
had really delayed his voyage. He might well hesitate to attempt a 
second time so diffictdt a task as the government of Scotland. Dunbar's 
hint that his continued absence was due to love of money — 

*' Thy pradent wit we think thow hes abosit, 
Absentand the for ony waridly geir," — 

is borne out by the avarice which was one of the traits of his character. 
But his presence was at least better than anarchy. That the kingdom 
was going to ruin for want of justice, or, as Dunbar expresses it — 

** In lak of iustioe this realme is schent allace," — 

receives signal confirmation from the despatches of Dacre, the un- 
scrupulous Warden of the English Marches, who desired nothing more 
than disorders in Scotland as an opportunity for English intervention. 
They are thus epitomised by Mr Brewis : " If Henry and Wolsey 
prospered in their purpose to prevent Albany's return, Scotland, as 
Dacre expressed his conviction, would go to ruin for lack of justice ; 
the Scotch lords would never consent to be ruled by one of their peers, 
and their ancient feuds would be renewed with greater animosity than 
ever.* — Brewis, * Henry VIII.,' voL i. p. 541. 

At last, in spite of all the endeavours of the English king and 
his minister to prevent it, by alternately cajoling and threatening 
Francis I., and at one time actually succeeding in getting Albany put 
for a short period in ward, he sailed from France, and landed in Scot- 
land on 2 1st November 1521. His subsequent career lies beyond the 
period of Dimbar's life ; for although a recent biographer, Mr Bayne, 
has with some hesitation adopted the view that the poet survived till 
1530, this is contrary to the opinion of those who have previously 
written his life or studied his poems, none of which contain any 
reference to events subsequent to 152a A few leading facts may be 
briefly noted. Albany succeeded in obtaining complete possession of 
the government, and became on such intimate terms with Margaret, the 
Queen-Dowager, that scandal suggested, and Henry VIII., with whom 
she had now quarrelled, readily adopted the idea, that she wished 
to marry him, and advanced to the English border. But, alarmed by 
the force Dacre collected to oppose him, and inadequately supported 
by France, he made at Solam an abstinence or truce for one month 


on loth September. He at once disbanded his army, and on 27th 

October returned to France, deputing the regency to certain bishops 

and Jords, and promising to return before 15th August 1523. He 

in fact returned on 25th September in that year, and again invaded 

England with a large force of foreign troops, with which, and the 

Scotch levies, he undertook the siege of Wark. Here he a second 

time proved his incompetency as a general. Though Wark was 

defended only by a small garrison, it succeeded in repulsing a first 

assault ; and Surrey, the Lord High Admiral, advancing to its relief 

Albany, in spite of the remonstrance of his Scotch troops, who were 

eager for battle, abandoned the siege. A ballad of Skdton taunted 

him with his flight : — 

" Your chief chieftain 
Void of all brain 
Duke of Albany 
Than shamefully 
He reculed back 
To his great lack 
When he heard tell 
That my Lord Amrell 
Was coming down 
To make him frown." 

What remained of his prestige in Scotland was now wholly lost, and 
he went back to France in May 1524 unregretted, and never to return. 
Having failed to keep his promise to return to Scotland on ist Sep- 
tember, he was dismissed from the regency by the Scottish Parliament 
in November. He lived in France, his native country, till his death 
on 2d June 1536, taking a certain interest in the foreign affairs of 
Scotland, aiding Margaret in procuring in 1528 her long-desired divorce, 
and James V. in his negotiations with the Pope for the establishment 
of the Court of Session, but he never desired to see Scotland again. 
He is reported to have said that " he wished he had lost his legs before 
he ever set foot in it." 

A picture belonging to Lord Bute represents him, along with Queen 
Margaret, and a third figure of a man in Court livery pointing to him 
with his finger. It has been engraved by Pinkerton in his *Icono- 
graphia Scotica,' and in Mr Small's life of Gavin Douglas. The 
conjecture that it has some reference to the scandal that he and the 
Queen-Dowager, both of whom had spouses living, were too intimate, 
is not borne out by the character of the picture. Margaret is de- 
picted as handing Albany, without looking at him, a letter or a small 
box ; and Albany with a rose in his hand, which he appears to have 
no intention of giving to her. The purpose of the picture is enig- 
matical, but the faces are well drawn. Margaret is comely and stout, 
with good eyes and features, but a sensuous mouth. Her beauty had 
not yet been destroyed by the smallpox. Albany is also of large 
make, with a broad face, straight nose, somewhat doubtful-looking 


eyes, a thick short beard, and no hair on the upper lip. Neither the 
vanity nor the hot temper with which he was credited by contem- 
poraries appears in the representation of him. His real character may 
be judged by his acts and his correspondence. He cared little for 
Scotland ; and if ambitious projects had floated through his mind with 
regard to Margaret Tudor, and the conversion of his regency into a 
monarchy, he either did not sufficiently care or he had not sufficient 
determination to effect them. He regarded France as his home, and 
its king as his master. He had the ing^tiating manners of the 
Stewarts, and, notwithstanding his neglect, was popular with the 
Scotch till he showed his incapacity. His passionate nature, of 
which many anecdotes were told, as that he threw his cap into the 
fire if anything displeased him, was probably of the quick, not of the 
sullen kind, and such fits soon passed off. He had no genius for 
war, in which he missed great opportunities; but he was a skilful 
negotiator or agent, and generally succeeded in matters of business to 
which he applied himself. His diplomacy, which in that age required 
cunning and allowed deceit as one of its methods, succeeded more 
than once in baffling the great minister and zealous agents of Henry 
VIII., who counted themselves, and really were, masters of the an. 

Stobo. Flytingy L 331 ; Lament^ L 86. — John Reid or Rede, alias 
Stobo, appears in the Records as early as 1473, when he received a 
half-yearly pension of ;£$. This was increased to £70 a-year for life 
by James III., who granted him a charter under the Great Seal, which 
recites as its cause — ** pro gratuitis serviciis per eundem quondam pro- 
genitor! nostro et nobis impensis in scripturam literarum nostrorum 
secretorum et patri nostro Pape et diversis Regibus Principibus et 
Magnatis ultra regnum nostrum missarum et in expensis suis in per- 
gameno papiro ceri albi et rubri et sustentis et pro toto tempore 
vitae suae faciendis et sustenandis et in sui supportacionem ad expensas 
antedictas." He is also designed Sir John Reid, public notar, in 
' Acta Auditorum,' 19th October 147a The position he occupied was 
that of head of one of the branches of the Secretary's office, receiving, 
as in some offices at the present day, an allowance for the expenses as 
well as services of the office. From the charter quoted, he appears to 
have entered the royal service as far back as the reign of James II., 
so before 146a The Secretary of James III. was Whitelaw, who was 
succeeded by Patrick Panther, and the employment given under them 
seems to have been a favourite career for young men of talent Chep- 
man, the first printer, served in this office, and so probably did 
Dunbar, though he seems to have been employed in external missions 
rather than at home in writing despatches. That Stobo befriended 
him is shown by the line in the " Flyting" — 

« And Sjrne ger Stobo for thy lyfe protest." 

The familiar byname of Stobo, whether taken from the place of 


his birth or some Church preferment he may have held, as wdl 
as Dunbar's epithets, ''gud gentill Stobo," in the '' Lament for the 
Makaris," proves him to have been a general favourite. In charters of 
the Great Seal, loth December 1488 and 9th and loth May 149 1, he is 
designed " Rector de Kirkcristo," but which Christ's Kirk is intended 
is not known, but the name Stobo is probably from Stobo on Tweed- 

The last entries referring to him in the Treasurer's Accounts are on 
6th May 1585 : " Item, be the king^s command to Stobo liand sicke, 
£S ; " and 27th May, " Item, to Stobo liand sicke, be the kingis com- 
mand, 5 French crounis, £2, ids." "The Lament for the Makaris" 
having been written in 1507 or 1508, he must have died before the 
latter, probably in the former, year. No poem has survived with his 
name attached to it. Dunbar, perhaps, owed to him his introduction 
to the royal service. The brief references to the various persons with 
whom the poet came in contact indicate, as might be expected, his 
discrimination of character. The gentle Stobo will be remembered by 
his verse, as will be the surly Doig, the envious Mure, the impostor 
Damian, Norray the chief of fools, the beauty Musgrave, the black 
Lady with the thick lips, and the Lady without rew (" La belle Dame 
sans merci "), whose name he conceals. This is the more remarkable, 
as Dunbar is by no means prodigal in epithets, and does not hesitate 
to repeat common ones, as " guid," " gentle," " sweet," and " lusty." 

Strait Gibbon. Flyting, 1. 209, — Dunbar calls Kennedy Strait 
Gibbonis at'r, and there is an entry in the Treasurer's Accounts, 6th 
July 1503 : " Item, to Strait Gibbon, be the kingis command." Prob- 
ably he was one of the fools or jesters of the Court. Possibly he is 
the same person as " Quhissil Gibbone in Falkland," to whom 5s. was 
paid "at the kings command" on 12th December 1497.— Treasurer's 

Thomson, John or Joan. To the King, p. 218.— A Scottish pro- 
verbial expression for a husband under his wife's government. " He 
is John Thomsoun's man, crouching carle." — Ferguson's Proverbs, ed. 
1641. " John Thomson's bairns" is another Scotch proverbial expres- 

Throp. Flyting, I. 540. — "Throp thy neere nece." Some error 
may be suspected in the printing of this unintelligible name in Chep- 
man's print of the " Flyting." 

Traill, Sandy or Alexander. Lament, 1. 69. — No trace has yet 
been found of this poet or any of his poems. The familiar " Sandy " 
looks as if Dunbar had known him, or if not, that he had been a popu- 
lar favourite, like " Davy Lyndsay." 


TULLIUS. The Goldyn Targe^ L 69.— Marcus Tullius Cicero, the 
orator, whose works were as much read in the middle ages by 
poets as by scholars and philosophers, so that rhetoric became the 
name for the art of poetry. Dunbar in this passage couples Cicero 
with Homer, and he calls his master Chaucer, " rose of rethoris all." 
The vision or dream, a £ivourite form of medieval poetry, of which 
Dunbar has left several specimens, is supposed to have taken its rise 
from Cicero's ^ Somnium Scipionis." This part of the ' De Republic! ' 
was preserved, with a commentary by Macrobius, " and attracted the 
attention of readers who were fond of the marvellous, and with whom 
Macrobius was a more admired classic than Tully. It was printed 
at Venice, subjoined to Tully*s Offices, in 147a" It is frequently quoted 
by Chaucer, as in the introduction to the ** Assembly of Fowles." — 
Warton's * History of English Poetry.* 

Wallace. Ffyting^ 1. 272. — Cospatrick, Earl of March, sided with 
the English against Wallace, whom he called " King of Kyle" ('' Blind 
Harry," viii. L 21}, in one of the engagements which was fought on the 
Lanmiermuirs (perhaps near Spot, so here called Spottismuir), and is 
described by Blind Harry in his Eighth Book. 

Waspasius. Flytingy L 532. — ^Vespasian, the Roman Emperor. 

WvNTOUN. See Andrew of Wyntoun. 





Abbot of Tungland. See Damian. 

Breviary of^ printed by Chepman 

and Myllar, xiv. 
William Elphinstone, Bishop of, 

Poem on Queen Margaret's visit 
to, xlviiL 
Abiram referred to in " Flyting, 

Absalome referred to in " Man's Mor- 

Achilles referred to in " Man's Mor- 

talitie," cdL 
Adam. Adam and Eve represented on 
Queen Margaret's entry to Aber- 
deen, xlviii. 
Advocates' Library. 

Copy of Chepman's first prints in, 

Bannatyne Mannscript in, xiv. 
Afflek, James, identified with James 

Audienleck, ccii. 
Albany, Duke of. See Stewart, John. 
Al-Fara^dar, Arabic poem, a speci- 
men of ** Flyting," ex. 
AUan, Blind, proverb on, cdL 

Dunbar's use of all^ry, IxxviiL 
Dunbar's allegory less complex 

than Spenser's, Ixxviii. 
Of the Goldyn Targe explained, 

Of Beauty and the Prisoner ex- 
plained, Ixxix. 
Or the Thistle and the Rose ex- 
plained, Ixxx. 
Of the Droichis port of the Play 

explained, IxxxiL 
Relation between the All^ory 
and the Masque, IxxxiL 

Dunbar's use of, Ixxxviii. 
Practised longer in South than 

in North, IxxxviiL 
Specimens o^ in Scotch poetry, 

Analysis of Dunbar's, dxxiii. 
Professor Skeat's account of, in 
preface to "Piers Plowman," 
Professor Schipper's account of, 
in 'Altenglische Metrik,' dxxiv. 
Mr Patmore's account of, in 
'Essay on English Metrical 
Almaine, William, London merchant, 

' Altenglische Legenden,' by Horst- 

mann, referred to, ccvL 
'Altenglische Metrik,' by Schipper, 

Andrew of Wyntoun. 

The character of his Chronicle, 

Notice o( cciiL 



Andrews, St. 

Dunbar a graduate of, xxiL 
Extracts from Register of, relative 

to Dunbar, cliii. 
Walter Kennedy, Bishop of, xxii. 
Patrick Graham, Archbishop of, 


William Schevez, Archbishop of, 


Alexander Stewart, Archbishop 
of, IxiL 
Angus, Earl of, marries Margaret 

Tudor, Ixiv. 
Angus, Lord of the Isles, cxvi. 
Ann, St. 

Notice of, cciii. 
Dedication of altars to, cdii. 
Anne of Brittany sends ring to James 

IV., Ui. 
Antenor referred to in ** Flyting," cciv. 
Antony, St. 

His Order, cciv. 
His hospital at Leith, cciv. 
Ai^le, Earl of, captured Donald 

Owre, cxvi. 
Aristotle referred to in satire on 

"Evil Women," cdv. 
Armstrong, Archie, fool of James I., 

Arran, Earl of, detained in England 

by Henry VIII., ccxlvi. 

Notice of, cdv. 

History and locality of poems 

relating to, cciv. 
James IV. imitates the Round 

Table of, xlv. 
Alliterative poem of 14th century 

on his death, Ixxxviii. 
Poems of his cycle referred to, 

Sir Hew of Eglinton's **Gret 
Gest " of, ccxxviii. 
See also Gawane. 
Ash Wednesday, Dunbar's poem on, 


Prediction of James III.'s death 

by, XXV. 
William Schevez addicted to, xxv. 
John Damian, an astrologer, cxvii. 
Aubigny, the Lord of. See Stewart, 

Auchinleck or Asloan MS., xv. 
Augustine, St, of Canterbury, Legend 
of, referred to in ** Flyting," ccv. 

Baal, reference to, by Wyntoun, and 
in "Flyting," ccvi. 

Babington, Dr, Queen's Almoner, 

notice of, ccvi. 
Bachelor of Arts. 

Required three 3rears' residence at 

Scottish university, xxii. 
Dunbar graduated as, 1477, xxii. 
Walter Kennedy graduated as, 
1476, xviii. 
Baliol, John, referred to in " Flyting,- 


French form with " Envoi," 

Metre of, dxxxvii. 
Ballat Ro3ral, clxxxviii. 

In welcome of Aubigny, xlv. 
" Of the Fenjeit Freir of Tung- 
land," xlvii. 
" Of Our Lady," cxL 
Bannatyne, George. 

MS. of Scottish poems, xiv. 
Description of its contents, Ixxvii 
Barbour, John. 

Biographer in rhyme rather than 

^oet, cxlv. 
' Lives of the Saints' referred to, 

Notice of, ccvi. 
Bards or Minstrels. 

Position of, at the Scotch Court, 

Pensions to, xxxvii. 
Bartilmo or Bartholomew, notice of 

his legend, ccvii. 
Bastie, De la. Sir Anthony d*Arcy. 
Comes to Scotland for touma- 

ment, ciii. 
Left by Albany as his representa- 
tive, cclxiii. 
Murdered by Home of Wedder- 
bum, cclxiii. 
Beaumont, Sir John, poem on Bos- 
worth Field, cclix. 
** Beauty and the Prisoner," Dunbar's 

poem, explained, Ixxix. 
Beelzebub referred to in "Flyting," 

Bell, Allan. 

Misnomer for Adam Bell, ccviii. 
Notice of English ballad, ccviii. 
Adam Bell, Clym of the Cleugh, 
and William of Cloudisle, ccviii. 
Berwick. See Friars of. 
Bevis of Southampton, notice of, 

Bibliography of Dunbar. 
MSS., cxciv. 
Printed editions, cxcv. 


Biel, estate of, in Haddiii|;toii, retained 

by Dunbar family, xvii. 
Birds, dialogue of, a &voarite fonn of 

poetry, cxxxvii 
Blackadder, Robert, Archbishop of 

Embassy to France, xxrii. 
Embassy to Spain, xxx. 
Embassy to EngUjid, xxxiiL 
Blak Belly, a ^tti&h brownie, 

' Black Book of Clan Ranald,' account 

of Lords of the Isles, ccxviiL 
Black Elen. 

Tournament in honour of, dL 
Dunbar's poem on, diL 
Blank verse, later English poets 

£Eivour, cxlix. 
Boece, Hector. 

At University of Paris, xxix. 
Pension of, as Principal of King's 
College, Aberdeen, xxxvii. 
Bothwell, Earl of, Patridc Hepburn, 
one of the ambassadors to France 
and to England as to King's mar- 
riage, xxxiii. 
Bower, John, Customer of Hadding- 
ton, XX. 
Bower, Walter, Abbot of Inchcolm, 


Bradshaw, Mr Henry, discovers 'Lives 
of the Saints' in Cambridge Uni- 
versity Library, ccvi 
Bruce, Robert. 

Represented at Queen's entry to 

Aberdeen, xlviii 
Referred to in "Flyting," cdx. 
Buchanan, George. 

Encomium by him on France, 

Imitates Dunbar in "Sonmium," 
Burns, Robert, comparison of Dunbar 

with, cxlviii. 
Bute, John, King's fool, notice of, ccx. 

Callimachus, flyting of, with Apollonius 
Rhodius, cix. 

Callot, French painter, etchings of 
** Sevin Deidly Synnis," cxxviL 

Calvinism, effect of, on Scottish drama, 

Canterbury, Dunbar preaches at, xxiv. 

Cassilis, Earl of Kennedy, importance 
of thb family, xix. 

Caym or Ham referred to in "Flyt- 
ing," ccx. 

Cayphas referred to in "Flyting," 

Charles VII., Scots Guard in service 

of, xlv. 
Charles VIII. 

French Renaissance dates from, 

Aubigny sent on embassy to Scot- 
land by, xlv. 
Charies of Orleans, his poems not re- 
ferred to by Dunbar, xxix. 
Charteris, Henry, adhortation by, xiv. 
Chartier, Alain, French poet rdferred 

to, xxix. 
Chaucer, Geofirey. 

English poetryspringsfrom, xxviiL 

"The Maying or Disport of," 

printed by Chepman, 1508, 


« Wife of Bath's " tale imitated by 

Dunbar, Ixxxvi. 
Description of "Sevin Dddly 
Synnis" in "Persones Tale,^ 
Comparison of Dunbar with, cxlii. 
Influence of, on Dunbar, csdvi. 
Chepman, Walter. 

Patent to, as first Scotch printer, 

Dunbar's connection with, xliL 
Publishes " Lament for the Mak- 
aris," xliv. 

Romances of, referred to, c. 
Satire by Dunbar on, c, di. 
Christmas, Dunbar's poemson, cxxxviii. 
Qergy, satire on, Ixxxv. 
Clerk, John, notice of, ccxL 
Qerk of Tranent, notice of, ccxii. 
Cochrane, Robert, Earl of Mar, 

favourite of James III., xxv. 
Cockdbie's Sow, early Scotch poem 

on, cxlv. 
Coiljear, Rauf. See Rauf. 
Collins, William, English poet, his 

" Ode on the Passions," cxxviL 
" Confession General," the, Ixx. 
Corineus, one of the Guildhall giants, 

Corspatrick, Earl of March, notice of, 

Court of James IV., Dunbar's descrip- 
tion of, xlix. 
Courtiers, description of, by Dunbar, lii 
Courts of Law. 

Sessions of James I., xlix. 
Daily Coundl of James IV., xlix. 
College of Justice of James V., 

Dunbar's satire on, cxxiL 
Covetonsness satirised by Dunbar, Ixx. 



Crawford Moor, gold found at, xlviL 
Curry, notice of, ccxiii. 
Cuthbert, St, ccxiv. 

Damian, John, Abbot of Tungland. 
Special subject of Dunbars satire, 

Notice of his life, cxviii, ccxiv. 
How he became a priest, ccxv. 
His practice as a quack doctor, 

Pretends to make quintessence, 

Batters at the study or smithy, 

Refuses to repay loan, ccxv. 
Attempts to ny at Stirling, ccxv. 
Made Abbot of Tungland, ccxv. 
Goes abroad, ccxv. 
Returns before Flodden, ccxv. 
Finds gold at Crawford Moor, 
" Dance in the Quenis Chalmer," the, 

** Dance of the Sevin Deidly Synnis," 

cxv, cxxvii. 
Dares Phrygius, his version of the 

story of Troy, ccxxix. 
Dates, Table of, probable order of 

Dunbar's poems, clvii. 
Dathan referred to in ** Fl3rting,"ccxvi. 
Davidson, Thomas, early Scottish 

printer, xiv. 
" Deeming," on, poem of Dunbar, 

Demtoun, preacher at, xxiv. 
Deschamps, Eustace, French poet, 

his * Art of Poetry, * xxix. 

East Lothian, xviii. 
Carrick, of Kennedy, xviii. 
Dictys Cretensis, his version of the 

story of Troy, ccxxix. 
" Dirge,'; " Dirige," or '* Dregy." 
Origin of word, xcv. 
Dunbar's poems so called, xcv. 
Discretion in Asking, Giving, Taking, 

Dunbar's p)oems on, cxxiii. 
Doig, James, keeper of the King's 

Poems by Dunbar on, Iv. 
Notice of, ccxvi. 
Donald Owre, Lord of the Isles. 
A Highland rebel, cxiv. 
Dunbar's epitaph on, cxiv. 
Notice of, ccxvii. 
Mr Gregory's account of, ccxviii. 
Account of in 'Black Book of 
Clanronald, ccxviii. 

Dou^as, Gavin, Bishop of Dunkeld. 
Kecognises Dunbar as master of 

Scottish poets, xiii. 
His allegory more complex than 

Dunbar's, Ixxviii. 
His alliteration in Prologues to 

" iEneid," Ixxxix. 
Description of poets in ''The 
Palace of Honour," IxxiL 
Dountebour, Dame, a cant or a real 

name, ccxviii. 
Dover, Dunbar crosses to France at 

ferry of, xxiv. 

Dunbar not a dramatist, cxUi. 
Why Scotland has no drama, 

Knowledge necessary for drama- 
tist, cxliii. 
Dreams, poems in form of, or visions, 

xlvii, cxxviii. 
Drummond, William, of Hawthomden, 

his ** Polemo-Middinia," xcvii. 
Dunbar, Agnes of, xvi. 
Dunbar, Archibald, notice of, ccxix. 
Dunbar of Westfield, sheriff of Elgin, 

notice of, ccxix. 
Dunbar, Earls of. 
Their policy, xvi. 
Gospatrick or Corspatrick, first 

Earl, xvi. 
Patrick, eighth E^rl, xvi. 
George, tenth Earl, xvi. 
George, eleventh Earl, xvii. 
Deposed by Tames I., xvii. 
Dunbar, Sir Patrick, of Biel. 

Fourth son of George, tenth Elarl, 

Dunbar, the poet, relation to, 
Dunbar, William, the poet. 
Probably born 1460, xv. 
At school at Haddington about 

1474, xix. 
Graduated at St Andrews as 

B.A. in 1477, xxii. 
Enters an Observantine House as 

Novice after 1479, xxii. 
Travels in France and the Con- 
tinent between 1491 and 1500, 
With embassy to France in the 

Katherine, xxvii. 
Course of his life uncertain, 1491- 

1500, xxix. 
Possibly went to Spain on em- 
bassy, 1495, XXX. 

Possibly travelled to Norway dur- 
ing I495» xxxi. 



At Court of James IV., 1500- 
12, xxxi. 

A priest, i6th Bdarch 1504, xxxL 

Received pensions as Court poet, 
1500-12, xxxii. 

On embassy to London as to 
marriage of James and Mar- 
garet Tudor, xxxiii. 

Received pavment from Henry 
VII. as ^'Rhymer of Scot- 
land," xxxiii. 

Blade ballad in honour of Lon- 
don, xxxiv. 

Returns to Scotland, 1502, xxxv. 

Composes '*The Thistle and the 
Rose," 1503, xxxiv. 

Composes ballad in honour of the 
royal marriage, xxxiv. 

Writes "Lament for the Makaris," 
I5G^ xl. 

Relations to Chepman the printer, 

Celebrates Aubigny, and satirises 
Damian, 1508, xlv. 

Visits Aberdeen with the Queen, 
151 1, xlviii 

Effect of Flodden on Dunbar, Ix. 

His life after 1513 obscure, Ixiii. 

Poem to the Queen-Dowager in 
1513, Ixiii. 

Poem when Albany went to 
France in 1517, Ixvii. 

Probable date of death, 1520, 

His religious poems or h3rmns 
probably written after 15 13, 

Description of person and char- 
acter, IxxiL 

Division of poems into classes, 

Allegories, Ixxviii. 

Narrative poems or tales, Ixxxiv. 

Amatory or love poems, Ixxxix. 

Comic or humorous, xciii. 

Laudatory or panegyrical poems, 

Vituperative poems or invectives, 

Precatory poems or petitions to 
the King or Queen, cxxi. 

Satirical poems, cxxiii. 

Moral poems, cxxx. 

Religious poems, cxxxviL 

Elstimate of his genius, cxli. 

Comparison with the earlier Scot- 
tish poets, cxliv. 

Chaucer's influence on, cxlvL 

Comparison with Bums, odviiL 

Comparison with Horace, cL 
Comparison with Villon, cli. 
Comparison with Heine, cli. 
Comparison with Albert Durer, 

References to, in the records, 

Table of poems according to 

dates, dvii-dxxii. 
Note on his versification and 

metres, dxxii-cxdii. 
Notices of persons referred to in 

his poems, di. 


Satire on, by Dunbar, xlix. 
Description of, cxxvi. 
Edwart Langshankis (Edward I.), 

early Scottish wars against, ccxix. 
Egeas or ^Egaeon rderred to in 

"Flyting," ccxx. 
E^pya or Egypt referred to in " Flyt- 

ing," ccxx. 

Sir Hugh of, xli. 
Notice of. See Hugh, Sir. 
Elphinstone, V^lliam, Bishop of Aber- 
Introduced printing in Scotland, 

Aberdeen Breviary, xlii 
Eneas referred to in ** Flyting," ccxx 

Dunbar calls his language Eng- 
lish, xviii, Ixxix. 
Poets referred to in "Lament,*' 
Ersch or Irish, the names for Gaelic 

in Dunbar's satire, cxv. 
Eustase referred to in "Flyting," 

' Evergreen * of Allan Ramsay revives 

knowledge of Dunbar, xiii. 
Eyobulus referred to in "Flyting," 

Falcon, Mount, the place of execution 

at Paris, xxvii 

The ale of, xcv. 
The burgh charter of, xcv. 
Fergusson, Robert, last writer of a 

poetic testament, xcviii. 

Causes of campaign of, Ixi 
Echoes o( in the Scottish poetry, 

Effect of, on Dunbar and Scot- 
land, bdii. 






Examples of, in Greek, Latin, 
Celtic, Scandinavian, Italian, 
and Arabic poetry, cix. 
Skelton's, witn Gamesche, ex. 
Lyndsay's, with James V., cxL 
Montgomery's, with Hume of 

Polwart, cxi. 
Montgomery's defence of, cxL 
Called " rouncefdlis or tumbling 

verse " by James VI., cxii. 
Puttenham condemns, as unchris- 
tian, cxii. 
" Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy." 
Question as to its date, cxiL 
Metre of, clxxxu 
Fools, number of, at the Court of 
James IV. See Armstrong, Curry, 
Cuddy Rig, Norray. 
Fortune, its changes a favourite sub- 
ject with Dunbar, cxxxv. 

Intercourse between France and 

Scotland, xxvi. 
Praise of, by Buchanan, xxvi. 
Dunbar on an embassy sent to, 

Influence of, on Dunbar's poetry, 
Francis, St. 

Vision of St Francis, cxxix. 
Dunbar's poems copied by Buch- 
anan, xxiii. 
Notice of, ccxx. 
Franciscan order called Minorites or 
Grey Friars. 

Divided into Conventuals and 

Observantines, ccxx. 
Favoured by Henry VII. and 

James IV., ccxxi. 
Dunbar probably an Observantine 

novice, xxii. 
Dunbar's satires on the, xxiii, 
**Freiris of Berwik," whether this 

poem by Dunbar, Ixxxiv. 
French poetry. 

Its character in 15th and 1 6th 

century, xxix. 
Its influence on Dunbar's poetry, 
See Dcschamps, Charles of Or- 
leans, Chartier, Villon. 

Gaelic called Ersch or Irish by Dunbar, 

Gascoigne, George, first English satir- 
ist, instruction concerning the mak- 
ing of verse, cxxiv. 

Gawane, Gawan, or Gavin, notice of, 

Gedde, Charles, a learned gentleman 

of St Andrews, ccxxiii 
Geoffrey of Monmouth. 

His fable of foundation of Lon- 
don b^ the Trojans, cv. 
Adaptation of Arthorian l^rend, 
Gimega, St, notice of, ccxxii. 
Glennie, Mr Stuart, his 'Artharian 

Localities,' ccv. 
Gog and Magog, story of, ccxxii. 
"Golden Targe," its allegory ex- 
plained, Ixxviii. 
Golyas or Goliath referred to in 

**Fl3rting," ccxxii. 
Gower, John, English poet, notice of, 

Graham, Patrick, Archbishop of St 

Andrews, deposed by Sextus IV., 


Gray, Walter, Master of St Anthony's, 
notice of, ccxxiv. 

Greek, Dunbar knew no, ccxxix. 

Greene, Robert, tragedy of James IV. 
by, Ixi. 

Gregory, Mr Donald, history of Don- 
ald Owre explained by, cxvL 

Guest, Dr, his theory as to Arthur, 

Guido de Colonna, ' Historia Trojana ' 
by, ccxxix. 

Guy of Gysbume, ballad on, ccxxiv. 

Haddington, school of. 

Dunbar probably educated at, xix, 
Bower, Major, Knox, educated 
at, XX. 
Hailes, Lord, notes on Dunbar's 

poems referred to, xiii. 
Harry, Blind, or Harry the Minstrel. 
Payments to, by the King, 

Poem on Wallace, cxlv. 
Notice of, ccxxiv. 
Hay, Sir Gilbert, Scottish poet, notice 

of, ccxxv. 
Heine, comparison of Dunbar with, 

Henry VII. gives rewards to **The 

Rhymer of Scotland," xxxiii. 
Henry VIII., his conduct provoked 

war of Flodden, Ixi. 
Ilcnryson, Edward, Advocate, taught 

civil law at Bourges, ccxxvi. 
Henryson, James, King's Advocate 
of James IV., and Justice- Clerk, 


Henryson, John, master of grammar 

school of Dunfermline, ccxxvL 
Hemyson, Robert, Scottish poet. 
His satire on physicians, xcvii. 
Superior to Dunbar in sweet- 
ness, but inferior in invention, 
** Testament of Cresscid," xcviii. 
Notice of, ccxxvi. 
Heraldry, allegory of Thistle and 

Rose taken from, Ixxx. 
Herod referred to in "Flyting," 

Heryot, unknown Scotch poet, re- 
ferred to in the " Lament, xlu 
Highlanders, satire on, Ivii, cxiv. 
Hillhouse, Laird of. Sir John Sandi- 

lands, ccxxix. 
Holland, Sir Richard, Scottish poet, 

notice of, ccxxix. 
Homer, Dunbar's knowledge of, at 

third hand, ccxxix. 
Horace, comparison of Dunbar with, cl. 
" How Dunbar was desyrd to be ane 

Freir," xxiv, cxxix. 
Hugh, or Hew, Sir, of Eglinton. 
Notice of, ccxxvii. 
Mr McNeill's paper on, ccxxviii. 
Hume of Polwart, "Flyting" with 

Montgomery, cxL 
H3rmns or sacred i>oems b^ Dunbar 
written after 15 13, cxxxviL 

Iambic metre. 

The natural form of English verse, 

Of Dunbar, dxxv. 
Icelandic Flyting in the "Loki Sen- 

nar," ex. 
Inglis, Sir John, Scottish poet, " A 
General Satire " by Dunbar wrongly 
attributed to, cxx. 
Interlude of*' The Droichis port of the 

Play" explained, IxxxiL 
Invectives by Dunbar. 
"The Flyting,*' dx. 
"Epitaph on Donald Owre," 

"Against John Damian," cxvii. 
" A^dnst Evil Women,** cxix. 
" A General Satire,** cxx. 
Ireland, Wealth declines to live in, 

Isles. Lord of the Isles. 

John, first Lord, forfeited by 

James III., ccxviL 
Angus, second Lord, killed at 
Inverness, ccxvii. See also 
Donald Owre. 


Specimens of " Flyting '* in Ital- 
ian poetry, ex. 

Origin of drama in songs of Ital- 
ian husbandmen, cxi 

James I. 

Forfeited the Earl of Dunbar, 

"Kingis Quair*' not alluded to 

by Dunbar, cxlvi. 
Founds House of Observantines'at 

St Andrews, xxii. 
James II. killed by gun bursting at 

Roxburgh, xv. 
James III. 

His favourites, and incapadty for 

government, xxiv. 
Killed at Sauchie, 14S8, xxv. 
James IV. 

Dunbar*s view of his character, 

Sa3ring "on Deeming,** cxxxiii. 
Bom 17th March 1472, ccxxx. 
Succeeds to crown, nth June 

1488, ccxxx. 
Embassy to France to find a wife 

for, 1491, ccxxx. 
His attachment to Margaret 

Drummond, ccxxx. 
Death of Margaret Drummond, 

1502, ccxxx. 
His unstable character, ccxxxi. 
His activity in government, 

Reception of Perkin Warbeck, 


Abandonment of Perkin War- 
beck, ccxxxi. 

Expedition to Highlands, ccxxxiL 

Reforms the courts, ccxxxii. 

Protects agriculture, ccxxxii. 

Promotes educadon, ccxxxii. 

His own talents, ccxxxii. 

His character by Ayala and Eras- 
mus, ccxxxii. 

Weak side of his character, 

Illustrations of his reign, at time 
of his marriage, in Dunbar's 
poems, ccxxxiv. 

Brilliance of his Court, ccxxxiv. 

Inward decay, ccxxxv. 

Death of Henry VII., 1509, 

Causes which led to Flodden, 
Ixii, ccxxxv. 

Frendi alliance, ccxxxvi. 

Flodden and death, ccxxxvi. 



James V. 

His taste for poetiy, xxxii. 
His "Flyting'' with Lyndsay, cxL 
James VI. 

His treatise on "Scottis Poesie" 

referred to, xcviii. 
Rules for the testament as a form 

of verse, xcviii. 
Calls " Flytings ** tumbling verse, 

Use of " Invective " as name for 

a species of poetry, cxiv. 
Commends the '* Ballad Royal," 
John of Gaunt, introduction of Wy- 

clifs books into Scotland by, xx. 
John, St, referred to in "Flyting," 

Johnne the Reif. 

Old English poem of fourteenth 

century, ccxxxvii. 
Notice of, ccxxxvii. 
Johnston, Patrick, poet and player, 

notice of, ccxxxvii. 
Jok the Fule, one of the King's fools, 

Jonet the Weido, notice of, ccxxxviii 
** Joustis of the Taii)our and the Sow- 
tar," c 
Judas Iscariot referred to in **Flyt- 
ing," ccxxxviii. 

Katherine, the, Dunbar sails to France 

in, xxvii. 
Kennedy, Andrew. 

Dunbar's Testament of, xcvi. 

Notice of, ccxxxviii. 
Kennedy, Gilbert, first Lord, xviii. 

James Dunure, xviii. 

Janet, Lady, xviii. 

Bishop of St Andrews, xviii 
Kennedy, Walter, xviii. 

His praise of age, xxi. 

Notice of, ccxxxix. 
Kittok, Kynd. 

Dunbar's poem on, xciv. 

Notice of, ccxl. 

Metre of, cxcii. 

Lady, to a. 

Dunbar's poem, xci. 
Its metre, clxxix. 

Laing, David, references to his edi- 
tion of Dunbar, xiii, xvii-xxi, ccii. 

Landscape, Dunbar's view of Scottish, 

Langhome, John, Scottish poet, refer- 
ence to Dunbar's "Thistle and the 
Rose," Ixxv. 


Use of Latin words in vernacular 

poetry, xcvii. 
Rhyme sometimes used in medi- 
eval Latin, IxxxiiL 
Laureat, Poet. 

Dunbar called " Lollard laureate " 

by Kennedy, xxL 
History of title of, ccxlii. 
Dunbar in fact Laureate of the 
Court of James IV., xxxii. 
Lawrence, St, notice of his legend 


Ancient, between France and 

Scotland, xlv. 
Holy, by Julius II. against Venice, 
* L^ends of the Saints ' referred to, 

ccvi, ccvii. 
Lent, Dunbar's poem on, cxxxviiL 
Leslie, Bishop of Ross, account of 

John Damian, xlvi. 
Lodovick, Louis XII., King of France, 

Lokert or Lockhart of the Lee, Sir 
Mungo, Scotch poet, notice of, 

Of Kyle and East Lothian, xxi. 
Dimbar called ** Lollard laureate," 

Description of, by Dunbar, cv. 

By Major, cv. 

Called Troynovaunt by Geoffrey 

of Monmouth, cv. 
Description of, by Stowe, civ. 
Lothian, Dunbar a poet of, xix. 
Louis XI. centralises France, xxvi 

Dunbar's treatment of, Ixxxix. 
Spelling of the word in Scotch, 
Lowell, Mr J. R., on Dunbar, xi, 

Lydgate, John, English poet 

* Rules for Preserving Health,' 

Notice of, ccxlii. 
Lyndsay, Sir David. 

Recognises Dunbar as chief of 

Scottish poets, Ixxii. 
Refers to Dunbar in " Testament 

of the Papyngo," Ixviii. 
"Satire of the Three Estates" 
referred to, Ixviii. 
Flyting" with James V. re- 
ferred to, cxi. 



Macaronic verse, Dunbar's variety 

of, xcvi 
Machomete referred to in "Flyting," 

Bfackcowll, Fyn, notice of^ ccxliii. 
Maitland, Sir R., of Lethington, MS. 

of Scottish poems, xv. 
Major, John, Scotch historian, his de- 
scription of London, cv. 
Makaris or Poets, Dunbar's Lament 

for the, xL 
Makfadyane referred to by Blind 

Harry and by Dunbar, ccxliii. 
Malory, Sir Thomas, ''Arthurian Le- 
gends " published by Caxton, ccv. 
Mapes, Walter, poem "De Mundi 

Vanitate " referred to, xlL 
Marcion referred to in "Flyting," 

Margaret Tudor. 

Bom 29th Nov. 1489, ccxliv. 
- Dunbar's view of her character, 
Dunbar's poems to her, cviL 
Early projects for her marriage 

with James IV., ccxliv. 
Renewed, 1501, ccxliv. 
Espousals at Richmond, 24th 

June 1502, ccxliv. 
Marriage at Holyrood, 8th Au- 
gust 1503, ccxlv. 
Poem of "The Thistle and the 

Rose," ccxlv. 
Unfaithfulness of James, ccxlv. 
Death of her father, 22d April 

1509, ccxlvi 
Birth of her son Arthur, 15 10, 

Her pilgrimage to Tain and visit 

to Aberdeen, 151 1, ccxlvii. 
Quarrel with Henry VIII. about 

her jewels, ccxlvii. 
Birth of her posthumous child, 

Dunbar's poem to her as Queen- 
Dowager, ccxlviii. 
Marriaee to Angus, ccxlviii. 
Birth^ M«^Do«gUs. ,5.5. 


Goes to England, ccxlviiL 
Quarrels with Angus, ccxlviiL 
Returns to Sa>tland, 1517, 

Relations to Albanv, ccxlviiL 
Divorce from Angus, 1528, 

Marries Henry Stewart, ccxlix. 
Dies at Methven, ccxlix. 
Marriage, Dunbar's satire on, Ixxxv. 

Martyrs, Scottish, referred to, xx. 
Mary, the Virgin, Dunbar's poems 

to, ccxlix. 
Mary Magdalene referred to, ccxlix. 
Mary Salame or Salome referred to, 


On Queen's entry to Aberdeen, 

On Queen's entry to Edinburgh, 

Whether masque was prior to 
drama, IxxxiiL 
Maxentius referred to in "Flyting," 


Early references to study of^ by 

Henryson, xcvii. 
The clergy frequently practise, 
« Meditation in Winter," Dunbar's 

poem, lix. 
Mercurius referred to in "Flyting," 

"Merle and the Nichtmgale," the, 

Dunbar's poem, xdi. 
Merser, Scottish poet, referred to in 
" Lament for the Makaris," codix. 

Dunbar's mastery of, cxlix. 
Note on, by Mr McNeill, dxxii. 
Minstrels, their position at the Scot- 
tish Court, xxxviL 

Different views of its value, xxiiL 
Its character in Scotland in Dun- 
bar's time, xxiii. 
Dunbar's satire against, xxiiL 
Montgomery, Scottish poet 

Use of alliteration by, Ixxxix. 
" Flyting " against Hume, cxL 
IMence of *' Flyting," cxL 

List of MSS. of Dunbar's poems, 

xiv, cxciv. 
Of Regiam Majestatem, xv. 
Of Chronicle of London, xxxiv. 
Of Book of Pluscardine, xliv. 
Asloan, xliv. 
Mure, poem against, by Dunbar, 

Murray, Earl of Dunbar, notice of, 

Music, Dunbar's poem set to, xxxv. 
Musgraeffe, Mrs. 

English lady of the Queen, xc. 
Notice of, ccL 
Myllar, partner of Chepman, Scottish 
printer, xUL 



Nennius's ' Historia Britonum ' as 

to Arthur's battles, ccv. 
Ninian, St. 

Relic of, referred to, xcvi. 
Pilgrimages of James IV. to his 

shrine, ccxxxi. 
Heart of Aubigny sent to his 
shrine, cclxi. 
Norray, Sir Thomas. 

Chief fool of James IV., ccli. 
Dunbar's poem on, d. 
North or Northumbrian dialect, xvi. 

Oaths, Dunbar's satire on, cxxvi 
Occleve, English poet, referred to, 

Olibrius referred to in the ** Flyting," 

Orleans, Charles of, French poet, his 

influence on Dunbar, xxix. 
Oxford or Oxinfurde, Dunbar's poem 

**On the Vanity of Learning" 

written at, xxxi, Ivi. 

"Palace of Honour," Gavin Douglas's 

poem on, referred to, ci. 

Dunbar's poems in form of, civ. 
On London, civ. 
On the Queen, cvii. 
On Women, xciii. 
On Aberdeen, cviii. 
On Aubigny, cviii. 
Panther, Patrick, secretary to James 

IV., xliii. 
Passion, the. 

Dunbar's poems on, cxl. 
Dunbar familiar with plays on, 
Patmore, Mr Coventry, Essay on 

English Metrical Law, clxxiv. 
Pensions by James IV. to poets, 

Percy, Bishop, claims that England 

first ridiculed knight-errantry, c. 
Pharo referred to in '* Flyting," 

Physicians. See Medicine. 
Picardy, Dunbar preaches in, xxvii. 
Pilate referred to in *' Flyting," 

Pinkerton, Mr John, his notes on 
Dunbar's poems attribute "Freiris 
of Berwik ' to Dunbar, 1 xxxi v. 
Plays. See Drama. 
Pluto referred to in ** Flyting," 

Poggio, Italian poet, his flyting with 
Philelfo, cix. 

Pollexen or Polyzena, notice of^ cclii. 
Poor, Dunbar condemns oppression 

of, cxxi. 
Printing, notice of introduction of, in 

Europe and Scotland, xliL 
Prose, Southern Englaiid prefers, to 

verse, Ixxxviii. 
Protonotary, Andrew Foreman, an 
Apostolic, confused with Dunbar, 

Imitation not to be presamed in, 

Of John Thomson's man, lii. 
Of Blind Allan waiting on the 

moon, cciL 
On the Fox, cxvii. 
Puns, or play on words, specimens of, 
in Dunbar. 
On Margaret, xxxvi. 
On Knight, ciii. 
On Doig, ccxvi. 

His <Art of English Poesie' 

referred to, xxix. 
Denounces "Flyting" as un- 
christian, cxii. 
Quotes poem " Ginecocratia," 

Quhentyne or Quintyne, notices of 

poets of that name, ccliii. 
Quhettane clan referred to, ccliii. 
Quintessence, Damian pretends to 

make, cxix. 

Ramsay, Allan. 

Revives knowledge of Dunbar, 

"The Monk and the Miller's 
Wife " referred to, Ixxxv. 
"Rauf Colzard," old Scottish poem, 

referred to, ccliv. 
Records, references to Dunbar in tiie 

Scottish, cliil 

Lyndsay's influence on, xxi. 
Dunbar's attitude towards the 

doctrines of, xxi, xxxi, Ixxxiv. 
Prevented the development of 
drama in Scotland, Ixxxiii. 
Reid, Sir John. See Stobo. 
Reidpeth, Mr John, MS. referred to, 


Renaissance, its influence on morals, 


Dunbar preferred rhyme to alliter- 
ation, Ixxxix. 



Rhyme perhaps developed from 

alliteration, Ixxxix. 
Analysis of Dunbar's long couplets 

in heroic verse, clxxv. 
Analysis of Dimbar's short or 
four-foot couplets, dxxvii. 
Rhyme- RoyaL 

First used by Chaucer, dxxx. 
By Tames I. in " Kingis Quair," 

Gascoigne's description of, clxxxi. 
Mr Coventry Patmore's praise of, 

Dunbar uses a peculiar form with 
refrain, clxxxi. 
Rhymer, Thomas the, his verses allit- 
erative, cxlv. 
Rig, Cuddy, notice of, cdiv. 
Robyn Hude, notice of, cdiv. 
Rc^er of Clekkinsklewch, notice of, 

Roman doctrine. 

Dunbar handled freely, but ad- 
hered to, xxu 
Dunbar's religious poems in con- 

formity wi£, cxxxvii. 
Confession, cxxxviii. 
Worship of the Virgin, cxL 
Romances of the Arthurian cycle, cciv, 

Roscoe, W., description of Italian 

Rose, the, of England, described by 

Dunbar, xxxvL 
Ross, E^ldom of, annexed to Crown 
on forfeiture of John, Lord of the 
Isles, ccxvii. 
Ross, Sir John the, Scottish poet, 

notice of, cclvi 
Rowl of Aberdeen, notice o( cclvi. 
Rowl of Corstorphine, notice of, cdvi. 

Saint Ann, cdii. 
Cuthbert, ccxiv. 
Duthac at Tain, Qneen Margaret's 

pilgrimage to, xlviiu 
Frauds. See Frauds. 
Giles', in Edinburgh, beUs of, 

imitated, cxlix. 
Giraega. See Gimega. 
Ninian at Whithorn. 

Aubigny vowed a pilgrimage 
to, and his heart sent there, 
Pilgrimages of James IV. to, 
Paul's, in London, betrothal of 
James IV. and Margaret Tudor 
procUmed at cios. of, xxxiv. 

Saintsbury, G., his 'French Litera- 
ture ' referred to, xcviii. 

Dunbar's satire attacks all dasses, 

Dunbar one of the earliest satirists, 
Scenery, Dunbar's description of 

Scottish, IviiL 
Schaw, Quintyne. See Quhentyne. 
Schaw, Robert, notice of, cclvii. 
Schipper, Professor, of Vienna. 

His 'Leben und Gedichte' of 
Dunbar referred to, xiii, 
Ixxxviii, cxiiL 
His ' Altenglische Metrik ' re- 
ferred to, Ixxxiv, Ixxxviii, dxxiv, 

Generally a century behind Eng- 
land and France, xxviii. 
A small country courted by great 

Powers, XXX. 
The Scot abroad, xxvi, cviiL 
Scott, Sir Walter, his opinion of Dun- 
bar, xi. 
Scottish language. 

Its vocabuhiry of abuse, liii. 
Never becomes classic, di. 

" Tidings from the Session," cxxiv. 
Courts, why so called, cxxiv. 
Shakespeare, sayings of Polonius com- 
pared with poems of Dunbar, 
Simones Sonnes of Quhynfell, notice 

of, cdviL 
Sinclair, Sir John, notice of, cclviii. 
Skeat, Professor. 

On rules of alliteration, dxxiv. 
On authorship of 'lives of the 
Saints,' ccvL 
Skelton, English poet, xxviii. 
Skelton, Mr John, attributes the 
" Freiris of Berwik " to Dunbar, 
Skene, Mr W. Foibes, theory of 

Arthurian localities, ccv. 
Smith, Alexander, Scottish poet, 

criticism of Dunbar's poetry, lix. 
Soutars satirised by Dunbar, c 

Embassy to, under Archbishop 

Blackadder, xxx. 
Ayala, the Spanish ambassador 
to James IV., ccxxx, ccxxxii. 
Spenser, Edmund, English poet, com- 
parison of his allegory with Dun- 
tiar's, IxxviiL 



Stewart, Beniard, Lord of Anbigny. 
Dunbar's poems on, xlv. 
Notice of, cclviii. 
Grandson of John of Damley, 

Succeeds his fiither, John, Lord of 

Aubigny, 1483, cdviii 
Sent on embassy bv Charles VIII. 

to Scotland, 1404, cclviii. 
Led French auxiliaries of Henry 

VII. at Bosworth Field, 1485, 

Captain of Scots Guard, 1493, 

Ambassador to Rome, cclix. 
Lieutenant - General of French 

forces and conqueror of Naples, 

Philip de Comines, character of, 

Returns to France, 1496, cclx. 
Commands French in Calabria 

under Louis XII., cclx. 
Defeats Spaniards at Terra Nuova, 

1503, ccbc 
Defeated by Hugo de Cordova at 

Seminara, cclx. 
Surrenders at Cerignola, cclx. 
Accompanies Louis XII. in 

expedition against Geneva, 

Visited by Ferdinand, cclx. 
Sent on embassy to Scotland, 

1508, cclx. 
Received with honour by James 

IV., cclxi. 
Died at Edinburgh, 8th June 

1508, cclxi. 
His heart sent to St Ninian's, 

His will and portrait, cclxi. 
Stewart, John, Duke of Albany. 

Poem on his absence in France, 

Son of Alexander, second son of 

James H., cclxi. 
Summoned by Convention of 

Estates to tne Regency, 151 3, 

Lands in Scotland, 22d May 15 15, 

Relations with Queen Margaret, 

Wolsey's character of, cclxii. 
Relations with Wolsey and Henry 

Vni., cclxiii. 
Quits Scotland, 7th June 1517, 

Dunbar's ballad on, cclxiv. 

Coodudes treaty of Roneiiy 26th 

Aug. 15 17, cclxiv. 
Assists the Queen to obtain divorce 

fix>m Angus, cclxiv. 
Dunbar's poem on his absence, 

Returns to Scotland, 21st Nov. 

1 521, cdxv. 

Goes back to France^ 27th Oct. 

1522, cclxvi. 

Returns to Scotland, 25th Sept. 

1523, cdxvi. 

Fails in siege of Wark, cclxvi. 
Finally quits Scotland, May 1524, 

Dies in France, 2d June 1536, 

Portrait of him and the Queen, 

His character, cdxvii. 
Stewart, Sir John, of Damley, General 
of the Scots in the service of Charles 
VII., cclviiL 
Stobo, Scottish poet, notice of, cclxvil 
Story, Scottish printer, "The Office 

of our Lady of Pity,** xiv. 
Strait Gibbon, notice of, cclxviii. 
Strophic form of verse. 

Analysis of Dunbar's poems in 

strophes without refram, clxxix. 

Strophes with refrain, clxxxiv. 

Strophes in tail rhyme, 

Strophes with a wheel, cxdi. 

Oaths satirised in " The Devil's 

Inquest," ccxxvi. 
Scottish propensity to restrain, by 
Act of Parliament, ccxxvi. 

Tailors satirised by Dunbar, c. 

Tales or stories, custom of telling, by 

guests, Ixxxvi. 
"Targe, the Goldyn." 

Explanation of Dunbar's poem, 

Metre of, clxxxiii. 

Of Andrew Kennedy, xcvi. 

Poem so called, xcvii. 

Of Cresseid, xcviii. 

Of Squire Meldrum, xcviii. 

Of Duncan Laideus, xcv-iii. 

Of Robert Fergusson, xcviii. 
Thames, the. 

The glory of London, civ. 

Its swans, cv. 

Its bridge, cv. 


Thistle, the emblem of Scotland. 

Dunbar's poem on " The Thistle 

and the Rose," xxxv. 
On the hangings at Holyrood, 


On ratification of marriage treaty 

of James IV., Ixxxi. 
On purple tartan of James III., 

On portrait of James IV., IxxxL 
Thomson, John or Joan, proverb of 

John Thomson's man, cclxviii. 
Throp, an unexplained name in 

" Flyting," cdxviii. 

Ridiculed by Dunbar, c 
Of Toltenham referred to, c 
TraiU, Sandy or Alexander, an un- 
known Scottish poet, referred to by 
Dunbar, cclxviii. 

Example of, by Dunbar, dxxxix. 
Called in fifteenth century " com- 
mon rondeau," dxxxix. 

London called Troynovaunt or 

New Troy, dv. 
Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cre- 

tensis on stoiy of^ ocxxix. 
Guido de Colonna's *Historia 

Trojana,' ccxxix. 
Lydgate's * Troy Book,' ccxxix. 
" Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo," 

1, Ixxxvi 
** Tua Cummeris," the, xdii. 


Of St Andrews, xxii. 
Of Paris, xxix. 


Latin poem on, xli. 

Dunbar's poem on, cxxxviiL 

Veitch, Professor, criticism on Dnn< 

bar's description of scenery, Iviii. 


James IV. invited to lead army of, 


Dunbar's reference to, cvL 
Villon, French poet 

Influence on Dunbar, xxix. 

Use of testament as form of 
satire, xcviii. 

Comparison of Dunbar's "La- 
ment" with Villon's ballad, xL 

A few poems of Dunbar in tone 
of Villon, c 

ion, cxxxL 



Wallace, WiUiam. 

Referred to in "Flytii^ 

King of Kyle, xviii. 
Blind Hany^s ' Wallace ' referred 
to, cdxix. 
Warton, reference to Dunbar in 
' History of English Poetry,' xiii 
Waspasius or Vespasian referred to 

Webbe, his discourse of 'English 

Poetrie ' referred to, dxxiv. 
Wishart, John, prttches in East 

Lothian, xxi. 

Dunbar's satire against, Ivi. 
Dunbar's poem in praise of, Ixxxv. 
Satire on *' Evil Women," cxx. 
Satire on "Ladyis Solistaris," 

Poem on *' Ginecocratia " referred 
to, cxxviii. 
Wordsworth, contrast of Dunbar with, 


"The Wowing of the King,' 

Dunbar's poem, xdiL 
" Ane Brash of Wowing," Dun- 
bar's poem so called, xdii, xdx. 
Wyntoun. See Andrew of Wyntoun. 

Year, Christian, Dunbar's poems on 

the, cxxxviii. 
Young, Somerset Hei;^d, account of 

marriage of Margaret Tudor, xxxv. 


The photographic facsimiles represent — 

1. Dunbar's poem of "Welcum to Margaret Tudor as Queen of 

Scotland/' from the MS. in the British Museum, with the 
Music, forming 15 verso 16 recto of Appendix to Royal 
MSS., No. 58. Photographed by Mr Charles Praetorius. 

2. The opening lines of "The Goldyn Targe," from the MS. of 

George Bannatyne, in the Advocates' Library. Photographed 
by Messrs Wood & Son, Edinburgh. 

3. The same lines from the edition of Chepman & MiUar in 1508, 

from the unique copy in the Advocates' Library. Photographed 
also by Messrs Wood & Son, Edinburgh. 

These early traces of Scottish Music and the Scottish press have 
a historical interest besides their connection with the works of 





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